Turismo Prerrománico > Phases > Hermitages > Rupestre > MONASTERIO RUPESTRE DE LA OSCURIDAD


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Historic environment

This Ronda church of rock character is located outside the walls of the old Andalusian city of Ronda (madīnat Runda).

According to Puertas Tricas, this church can be valued as a simple church (related to the single-nave specimens of Alozaina and Villanueva de Algaidas) or as a basilica, due to the rocky pillars that give way to a tripartite apse (approving in a certain sense with those of Bobastro), although the separation into three naves is missing. In any case, there seems to be no doubt about its status as a monastic church of a suburban nature, since it was located outside the Ronda wall. His chronology will have to be carried to the eighth or ninth century.


In this monastery we can talk about three clearly differentiated spaces:

1. A worship area that represents 73% of the total complex, which implies, as is often the case in Malaga examples, a preponderance of space for liturgy. In this cult center integrate a central nave as true spatial axis (a), to the north three cavities (b) and to the south the access to the church (c).

a) The central nave has a rectangular plan (10 x 8 m) that is canonically oriented in an east-west direction. It offers three interior apses, with a single nave and is open to the outside. In the left side apse there seems to be what was a baptismal font.

b) On the northern side, three cavities with an irregular semicircular plan, could have had a liturgical use, perhaps as the first triple apse of the complex.

c) To the south of the central nave, there is a fairly wide access that communicates with the exterior of the complex.

2. A residential area made up of annexes A and B (27% of the total), probably used as the residence of a cenobitic community of slightly more than a hundred monks.

3. A necropolis that extends both inside and outside the church, made up of stone burials with long and narrow graves, mostly looted (some may remain intact). Undoubtedly, this cemetery is directly linked to the complex, since it would be used exclusively by members of the community that owns the church.

Virgilio Martínez for URBS REGIA

Other interesting information

Visiting hours and conditions: Only concerted visits by appointment

Entrance fee: 2.5 euros: individual; 2 euros: groups (more than 6 people)



R. Puertas Tricas, 1985: “Dos iglesias rupestres mozárabes en Ronda”, Cuadernos de la Alhambra, 67-77.
ID.,1988: Exploraciones en iglesias rupestres de Ronda, Caja de Ahorros de Ronda, Ronda.
ID., 2006: Iglesias rupestres de Málaga, CEDMA, Málaga, 107-132.