Museo Lara – Ronda, Spain - Atlas Obscura
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Ronda, Spain

Museo Lara

An eccentric collection of antique items shares space with a prop-quality witchcraft museum. 

Tucked away in a historic building known as the “Palace of the Count of the Conquest of the Batanes Islands,” the Museo Lara has as much interest in the beauty of historic objects as it does in recreating the horrifying fantasies of sorcery. 

Museo Lara is a private museum showcasing the collections of one man, the founder of the museum, Juan Antonio Lara Jury. The main floors of the museum feature a wandering selection of collections from old watches to early examples of handguns, vintage sewing machines and typewriters, and even a handful of old microscopes. Below the main floor, the lower level also features exhibits on movie projectors and bullfighting paraphernalia. However the cellar, as with any good museum, contains the exhibitions that truly set the Museo Lara apart.

Featuring exhibitions surrounding both the Spanish Inquisition and witchcraft, the lower levels of the museum turn sinister fairly quickly. The “Living inquisition” displays feature a number of historic torture devices including a full size stretching rack. To accent the painful-looking steel devices, mannequins are set up, dressed in inquisitor’s garb. The witchcraft displays also features cartoonish looking witch figures who are surrounded by outstanding taxidermy mash-ups like a bat-headed tarantula, and “dragons” made from various lizard and snake bits. There is also a life-size, preserved mermaid, a bullfrog with an old woman’s face, a “werewolf” made from parts of a canine skeleton molded over with clay horns and claws. There are also items that might be used in witches’ brews, such as mandrake, a child’s heart in a jar, henbane, etc.

Given that the Museo Lara is the collection of a single person, its clear that the museum founder has a wide range of interests. Some of which just happen to be terrifying.