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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The ancient town of Ronda, one of the most spectacular and romantic towns in Andalucia, is situated in the centre of a high plateau surrounded by a beautiful landscape of mountain ranges astride the 130 metre deep river gorge of El Tajo. The town is split in two by this gaping gorge where the Guadalevin river slices through the rock.

Ronda Gorge
Ronda Gorge

A town of Roman origin, it was conquered first of all by the Sueves, followed by the Byzantines, and then the Arabs in 711. The old Muslim town known as La Ciudad stands on the southern side of El Tajo, with a newer town to the north. It has a population of 35,000.

Puente NuevoIn the heart of this pretty town there are many carefully preserved monuments which make it one of the most important historic-artistic collections in all Spain. People who have fallen in love with the city include Richard Ford, Rilke (see Rilke Museum), Hemingway and Orson Welles. It is surrounded by natural parks and nature reserves; the Sierra de las Nieves, the Tajo, the Caldera, the Garganta del Arroyo del Cupil and the Cañada del Cuerno.

Three bridges span the gorge connecting the two areas of the town. The oldest bridge is of Arab origin, the Puente Viejo dates from the 17th century and the Puente Nuevo from the 18th century. The places of historic and architectural interest are mostly located in La Ciudad while the majority of places to stay and to eat are in the new town. There is a cluster of magnificent hotels, inns and eateries around the Puente Nuevo – floodlit at night, this is a truly romantic setting. At the western side, of both the old and the new towns, cliffs plunge down to the valley of the Río Guadalevín far below.

The Bullring at Ronda
The Bullring at Ronda

Sightseeing in Ronda

Official Tourism Website
Gateway of Almocábar (Puerta de Almocábar) – built in the 13th century to control access to the city.
The Bullring (Plaza de Toros) – the oldest bullring in Spain dating back to 1785. Nobles used this ring for equestrian training and practiced the art of fighting bulls from horseback. However the Romero family established Ronda as a centre of the modern corrida, which is contested on foot. Fransisco Romero invented the killing sword and cape, and his grandson Pedro perfected the skills of the sober classic Ronda style. Pedro is widely considered to be the father of modern bullfighting and one of the greatest matadors of all time. A Bullfight museum, housed under the terraced seating, pays homage to this traditional, if controversial, art and includes prints by Goya representing scenes in the bullring.
Rey Moro House (Casa del Rey Moro) – an 18th century house built over the remains of a Muslim palace. The terraced gardens extend down into the gorge.
La Mina – an old underground stairway of 365 steps, hewn by Christian slaves in the 14th century, out of the rock in the sides of the gorge right down to the river. Its purpose was to enable emergency water supplies to be drawn in times of siege. Every bucket was carried up by hand! It is open daily from 10.00h to 19.00h.
Night time in RondaMondragón Palace (Palacio de Mondragón) – ordered by King Abomelic of Ronda in 1314, and used as the residency of Kings, including Fernando and Isabel, and Governors. Inside there are three original stucco and mosaic courtyards, of which the Patio Mudejar preserves an Islamic character with rich tiling, brick arches, marble columns and an arch leading to a clifftop garden with a fountain and pool. The Municipal Museum is housed in the palace. Open daily from 10.00h to 14.00h.

The Ronda Countryside
The Ronda Countryside

Arab Baths (Baños Arabes) – 13th century preserved in a good state and located in the old Jewish quarter. These remarkable structures were fed by river water. Open Tuesdays-Saturdays from 10.00h to 14.00h and from 16.00h to 19.00h, and on Sundays from 10.00h to 14.00h.
Acinipo – a Roman amphitheatre hewn out of the rock, 18 kilometres from the city. Open Tuesdays-Fridays from 10.00h to 18.00h and Saturdays-Sundays from 12.00h to 18.00h. Entrance is free.
Pileta Cave – located at Benaoján, it contains Palaeolithic wall paintings of animals, including a pregnant horse, fish, an archer and abstract symbols. Tours are given several times daily (952 167 343).
Church of Espíritu Santo (Iglesia del Espíritu Santo) – ordered by Fernando The Catholic King in 1505, it has one nave with Gothic style vaults and thick Renaissance columns. Open daily from 10.00h to 18.00h.
Iglesia MayorSanta María la Mayor – originally built in the 13th century as the town’s Friday mosque, it was converted to a church by Fernando The Catholic King. Open from 10.00h to 20.00h in the summer and until 18.00h in the winter.
Salvatierra Palace – 18th century with a fine balcony made from Ronda cast-iron, and bizarre images of biblical scenes and South American Indians embellishing its facade. Open Mondays-Wednesdays and Fridays-Saturdays from 11.00h to 14.00h, and from 16.00h to 19.00h.
San Sebastián Minaret (Minarete de San Sebastián) – 14th century and a fine example of Nazari art.

Useful Numbers:
Emergency Doctor: 061
Guardia Civil: 952 871 461
National Police: 952 871 370
Emergency Police: 091
Bus Station: 952 872 657
Tourist Office: 952 871 272
Water Supply: 952 877 228
Town Council: 952 873 240

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