By Sara Wallace
ONE of Andalucia’s most evocative buildings is to be put up for public auction.
The historic Casa del Rey Moro in Ronda will go under the hammer unless its foreign owner can find 150,000 euros in just two weeks.
As the Olive Press has reported in recent months, German owner Johan Knie has been fighting a battle with the town hall over its refusal to grant him a license to build a hotel within the now-dilapidated mansion.
The protected building, which perches over the edge of the famous Tajo gorge, sits on the site of a former 13th-century Moorish palace. It still has the original foundations, some of the gardens and a deep 100 metre escape route for its Arabic owners down to the river below.
Knie held a rooftop protest at the palace in May to campaign against the town hall’s 14-year delay in permitting the hotel project.
The German was jailed for three hours following the demonstration because he “resisted arrest with sticks and threats,” according to Mayor Antonio Marin Lara.
The saga continues after Knie’s company was ordered to pay 150,000 euros to a local woman who was promised a home after she vacated neighboring land to allow for the proposed luxury hotel.
The German owners have stated that they intend to pay the debt before the July 27 deadline, but the property will be sold at an auction for an estimated 3.1 million euros if they cannot raise the money.
Until then, a landmark of Ronda’s historic heritage still lies in decay, hanging onto the gorge for dear life.