Jesús Almazán and Raúl Vallejo in September 2020 when the agreement was signed / sur

El Borge is preparing to welcome home El Bizco, its infamous bandit

The town hall has started work to adapt the space where the 1,300 pieces acquired in September 2020 from Jesús Almazán, who had them in a museum in Ronda for 25 years, will be exhibited

Eugenio Cabezas

In September 2020 the news broke that El Borge town hall had acquired the collection of the Museum of Banditry in Ronda owned by Jesús Almazán, who was in charge of a museum space that had exhibited up to 1,300 pieces for over 25 years. Now, the town hall has started work on preparing a 300-square-metre warehouse-cum-gallery, which will house this important collection, considered the best of its kind.

It will be in the village of El Borge, home to El Bizco; one of Spain's most infamous 19th century bandits. Following a 100,000 euro investment, the village aims to become, "an international reference centre for interpreting and learning about banditry,” according to the mayor Raúl Vallejo.

"The collection is unique, for the value of its historical documentation, maps and everyday objects, both of the bandits and of the Guardia Civil, the force created by the Duke of Ahumada to combat them. A total of 35 weapons are preserved in perfect condition," explained the mayor. Vallejo added that work is due to start imminently and should be finished by next spring.

The mayor of El Borge said he was "very proud" to be able to host this exhibition in the land of bandits, and is sure that it will attract visitors to the village. El Borge has already been home to the Posada del Bandolero for several decades, a municipal space managed under a concession by a local business, which offers restaurants and accommodation along with a small exhibition area with pieces on banditry.

However, the collection acquired from the Ronda museum is made up of hundreds of documents and objects from the life and times of the bandits and the new space in El Borge will be known as the Bandolero Gallery.

Over one million visitors in 25 years

During the confinement, Almazán warned of the possibility of the Ronda museum closing due to economic problems and the drop in tourists due to the pandemic, pointing to the cost of renting the premises as well as other issues. The museum in Ronda closed after 25 years and four months, having received one million visitors who were able to see around 1,300 pieces.

"It has been enough to cover expenses and expand the collection over the years," Almazán commented at the time. A three-dimensional tour has been made available on social networks, as a souvenir. The latest addition to the collection was the donation of costume and clothing used in the series 'Libertad' by Enrique Urbizu, which premiered this year on Movistar.

A collection of guns that will be on display in the gallery from spring 2022 / sur