Ronda – Collegiate Church of Santa Maria de la Encarnacion Mayor
Collegiate Church of Sta. María de la Encarnación Mayor – Ronda
Once Ronda had been conquered by the Catholic Monarcas in 1485, the Main Mosque was consecrated and transformed into a Christian church. Originally this church had the status of an abbey with a special, almost bishopric, jurisdiction. During the reign of the House of Austrian it became a collegiate church and in the 19th Century was converted into a High Parish.
The building has a cathedral-like feel to it. It is built of masonry and was constructed in two phases: the Gothic part, which must have been undertaken very early and coincides with the shape of the former mosque, and the enlargement of the northern part, begun after the earthquake of 1580 and which would take up until the 18th Century, displaying a mixture of styles ranging from Renaissance up to baroque.
Some remains of the Mihrab of the Muslim building have survived, as well as a large part of its original shape, dating from between the 13th and 14th Centuries. It is interesting to note the North African influences that can be seen in these remains.
The mains façade opens into the square, with superimposed verandas that served as boxes from which the festivities that were often celebrated there could be observed.