For centuries they lived in caves, roamed and ruled the complicated sierras, ravines and hidden valleys of the Serrania de Ronda and Sierra Morena, which sheltered them. Slowly they became so powerful in Andalucia that the government in Madrid in 1844 had to order the creation of the Guardia Civil (the local police at the villages) to put an end to their robbing ways. After that the robbery was almost curbed but isolated pockets of bandits were still robbing the wealthy travellers on their way to Ronda in as late as 1930s.
Andalucia was one of the notorious bandit areas of Europe, where encounters with travellers added drama to the romantic landscape.
That’s the succinct history of the bandits or bandoleros, as they are known locally, and of their social phenomenon.
A museum for Bandits!! Have you heard of any? I hadn’t… till I saw this.
“Museo del Bandolero” is the only museum dedicated to bandits and highwaymen in Spain. Housed in a more than 100 years old building in the historic town of Ronda (Málaga), it creates a mood of that period.
The museum consists of mainly four galleries:
1) Gallery of the “Romantic Travellers”. It has exhibition of paintings of that time and several historical documents, newspaper clippings, birth and death certificates, edicts, etc.
2) Gallery “Living the Bandits world” consists of costumes, guns, pictures, weapons, money and coins, official stamps, paintings, etc.
3) Gallery “The Men and the Names“. It is dedicated to the better known bandoleros (bandits) still remembered and who belong to the romantic age of the Bandits.
Among Diego Corrientes, José María, El Tempranillo, el Tragabuches, I am impressed with the life of El Tempranillo (the Early bird) who, at the age of 22, claimed, “The king may reign Spain, but in the sierra I do”. He used to demand an ounce of gold for each vehicle which crossed his domain. I will write separately about Spain’s bandits, especially the most famous one. 🙂
4) Gallery “The ones who followed the trace“. The gallery has special mention to the Guardia Civil (The local police at the villages), which specialized in the fight against these bandits.
Beautifully dressed life size statues. I loved his sideburns. 😛
Anything from pictures to life size statues of bandits, all exhibits are collected and superbly displayed. They have also translated the information in different languages making it easy for tourists to understand the displays. There is also an audiovisual work about Bandits.
In 1950s when communists and socialists opposed to General Franco’s regime, they waged a gorilla war from many of the caves previously used by the bandits. The museum traces the stories of these folk legends with the help of anecdotes and official court testimonies. The museum is an important place of research for academics and writers interested in the psychology of the bandit.
They have a souvenir corner as well where you can get all bandit & loot related things. 🙂
If you travel with kids or grown ups who like watching Bandit movies then this is going to be fun. You probably won’t find such a museum elsewhere. Go and enjoy!
If you want to travel places with me, I suggest you to join me on my Facebook travel page.
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