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Church of Santa Maria la Mayor

Appreciate a range of architectural styles and religious artworks at this attractive church, which took about 200 years to be built.

The Church of Santa Maria la Mayor (Iglesia de Santa María la Mayor) is one of the many striking monuments that beautify Ronda’s La Ciudad district. The church dominates the north side of Plaza Duquesa de Parcent, the one-time town hall square of the old town. Visit the Church of Santa Maria La Mayor to admire an assortment of designs and a collection of sacred art.

Learn about the church’s long and interesting history. Its foundation stone was laid in 1485, although it was not fully complete until the late 1600s. The church stands on the site of a mosque, which was part of Ronda’s Moorish medina. Prior to this, a Visigothic-era church and possibly a Roman temple occupied the grounds.

Pay attention to the façade, which resembles as much a typical town hall building as it does a church. It has an arcaded porch topped by two balconies, each supported by a series of columns and capitals. Dignitaries watched bullfights and festivals from the balconies during the mid-16th-century reign of Philip II. To the left is a stone clock tower crowned by an octagon-shaped belfry. Note the Gothic tracery patterns and spires that festoon the belfry.

Step inside to discover three naves characterized by their Gothic-style columns and arches. Admire the Baroque altarpiece and the Renaissance choir, made from cedarwood and walnut. See a fresco of Christopher Columbus by local painter Jose de Ramos. Look for an icon of the Virgen del Mayor Dolor, believed to have been created by either Montañés or La Roldana.

Located on Plaza Duquesa de Parcent, the church is a short walk from major attractions in La Ciudad. Visit Mondragón Palace, home to a history museum, and the Puerta de Almocábar gateway. Also nearby are the well-preserved Arab Baths. Ronda’s train station is a 20-minute walk away, in the town’s El Mercadillo neighborhood.

There is a fee to enter the Church of Santa Maria la Mayor, which is open daily. It remains closed to tourist activity for the Sunday lunchtime Mass service.


Guide to Exploring around Church of Santa Maria la Mayor


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