La Villeta Castle
La Villeta Castle – Al-Mundat Fortress – Monda
La Villeta Castle is majestically located on the top of the rock that presides over the white village of Monda, few minutes from La Villa Fountain, in the region of the Sierra de las Nieves, declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1995 due to its high values ethnographic and the beauty of its landscapes, populated by a varied fauna and flora, amongh which stand oaks, cork and firs.
The name “la Villeta” comes from the town that existed in Roman times, as well as the residential mansion of a certain Roman patrician, located outside the walls and called “villa”.
This fortress, of Moorish origins, was built on a hill, La Villeta, overlooking the town and the valley. Today, it is a luxury hotel, although it still conserves its charm and provides the town with a personality of its own.
Its origins go back as far as the IX century, when it was built by the Muladi leader, Omar Ibn Hafsún.
In the XII century, it was fortified by the Almohads and, later, by the Nazari from the Kingdom of Granada. A walled perimeter with a number towers and bastions, remains of which can still be seen, was added to the residential section.
The fortress was taken by the Catholic Monarchs (Ferdinand and Isabella), who ordered it to be pulled down, in 1485.
After the Alpujarras Rebellion (1568), the castle was destroyed and the houses in the area were burnt by the Moors during the fighting. Once the rebellion was quashed, the Moors were expelled from their lands, which were re-setted by Christians.
There is a legend involving the fortress in a romantic but tragic event: Tradition has it that the daughter of the mayor of Monda, Doña Beatriz, fell in love with the son of the mayor of the neighbouring town of Tolox, Don Arturo. They both lived a passionate love story until Don Arturo had to leave to the newly discovered lands of America. Arturo gave his lady a blossom from the almond tree beneath which they met each evening and he told her: “This blossom represents my heart”. Time passed and one day a drop of blood seeped from the blossom. Beatriz realized that her love had died overseas and soon died from sadness herself.
“And for many years the spirit of the Good Lady of Villeta haunted the ruins of the Castles and, in the evenings, appeared to the people of Monda who, at certain times of the year, in the middle of the night, are terrified by the moans and the weeping of the unlucky lady who died of love”.