Mozarabic Rupestrian
Chapel of Darkness

The Chapel of Darkness ensemble (in use since 9th century) is an archeological site in the council of Ronda (Málaga). It was excavated in the rock and it is the only one located in an urban area.

Ermita rupestre de la oscuridad


A special place to get lost in time

Geological evolution

We must know the geological evolution of Andalusia in order to understand better the origins of the chapel.

Primary Era


(575 million year ago). The Hercian fold occurred and the Central Plateau arose.

Secondary Era


(225 million year ago). A maritime bed appeared between the Central Plateau and Northern African Massif, containing deposits of eroded materials produced by the fold.

Terciary Era


The Alpine fold occurred and the Betic Range appeared. Also the southern boundary of the Central Plateau rose, forming Sierra Morena. Two important lowerings appeared (Betic and Strait of Gibraltar). Then they were covered by the sea water. The cave emerged during this period. It will be the future chapel. Some shells and marine fossils are still visible in the rock, making evident its origins under the sea.

Cuaternary Era


(2 million year ago). The first stage of present relief formation. Some fluvial terraces appeared and other glacial phenomena happened.

Religious use

The Chapel was probably used by Visigothic people as dwelling and shelter place. At the beginning, the rupestrian cave could be used by an eremit and later other people with the same beliefs and interests jointed creating a very small monk community.

The church is integrated among the emsemble buildings. It had accommodation and burial purposes.

Mozarabic community (Christian people living in an Arabic civilization) was allowed to develop their ceremonies on condition of not disturbing the Arabs. That is the reason why Mozarabic people had to retreat to Ronda outskirts where they could even bury their deceased ones.

The Rupestrian Chapel Emsemble

There are three different areas depending on their usages:


Cultural area:

75% of total room. The largest part is a central nave, rectangular-shaped with inner apses and external apertures situated in an east-west axis. In its northern part, there are three irregular semicircular cavities. They might have a ceremonial function, probably as the first triple front part of the emsemble. In its southern part, the wide entries to the church are located.

Dwelling area:

It contents two small attached rooms that could accommodate a very reduced monk community.


Cementary area

Both inside and outside of the chapel, there are long niches used by the Christian community living in the ensemble or by people from Ronda too.

Today there is a legal procedure iniciated to declare The Chapel of Darkness as a Building of Cultural Interest and to preserve its heritage.

The Mozarabic Rupestrian Chapel of Darkness

has initiated a file as an Asset of Cultural Interest, for its protection.


Prices and schedules


  • Individual

    Price per person.
  • Groups (More than 6 persons).

    Also students under 26, retired, unemployed and residents of Ronda.
  • Children (less than 14 years)

    Free - 0€
    Notice: Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.


  • Solo visitas concertadas con cita previa

    Póngase en contacto con nosotros para concretar su visita.

Protección de datos

Tratamiento de datos de los clientes

Clausula informativa:

Responsable: Fernando Ponce de León Docio, propietario y gerente de Apartamentos Turísticos Los Arrayanes, N.I.F.: 00642676X, con dirección postal: Calle Entre Arroyos nº 1, piso 14, letra C, C.P. 28030 Madrid. Teléfono: 619559096. Correo electrónico: .

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