The exotic charms that captivated poets and artists in the late nineteenth century are more valid than ever in this town in Malaga. Ronda stands as one of the oldest settlements in Spain and capital of the mountain range of the same name. The city, which has about 40,000 inhabitants, is the origin of ancient stories and many legends, so it is worth discovering it with a book in hand or enjoying dramatized visits that reveal secrets and curiosities. The rondeña essence remains alive in the white and cobbled streets of the old town, where it is still common to see carriages pulled by horses. Their devotion is collected in churches, convents and hermitages excavated in the rock. The elegance is provided by the facades of palaces that keep patios refreshed by singing fountains. All surrounded by stunning views and a gastronomy of Arabic aromas and Andalusian recipes, which complement the charms of the Malaga Ronda.
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From the New Bridge to the Arab Baths and the bullring, all there is to see in Ronda to fall in love with this city as did romantic travellers and writers like Hemingway.
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ARAB BATHS OF RONDA AND ITS MUSLIM LEGACY
The Moorish origin of the magical Ronda is still breathed in the walled core that the Arabs built in the eighth century. Although the town of Malaga has the natural defense of the Tagus, a gorge of more than a hundred vertical meters, the Berbers reinforced it with robust walls. Some sections and several doors are preserved: the Puerta de Almocábar, old access to the medina, originally from the thirteenth century but remodelled in the period of Carlos V; the Pool, which entered cattle and food; the Puerta de la Cijara, near the Arab Baths, this thermal enclosure of Arab origin (rebuilt in the thirteenth century), considered the best preserved example of the country, which are located near the stream of the Culebras; and the Gate of the Bridge, in which visitors of old were to be purified before entering the city. Finally there is the Puerta de la Fuente, enlarged in 1742 with the Arch of Felipe V and located next to the legendary Sillón del Moro.
Arab Baths of Ronda
In Ronda you can follow a Mudejar Route, which runs through many corners in its Historic Site where extraordinary elements of this style are preserved legacy of Christian-Muslim craftsmen who, after the Christian conquest remained in the territory, preserving their religion, language, constructive and decorative tradition. It preserves Moorish houses like the Giant, churches that mix traces of Islamic and Gothic art such as the Holy Spirit, erected in 1485 to commemorate the Christian victory, as well as palaces: the Mine of the King More keeps a mine of water, example of Arab hydraulic engineering.
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New Bridge of Ronda
THE NEW BRIDGE AND OTHER ROUND BRIDGES
The New Bridge is the icon of Ronda. It began to be built in 1735 with an arch of 35 meters in diameter, but six years later it collapsed. The work that is contemplated today was resumed in 1751 and was completed 40 years later, in 1793, on this occasion with several arches and more than a hundred meters high over the gorge of the Tagus, by whose bed runs the river Guadalevín. This stony walkway gives stunning views of the surroundings, being the main viewpoint of Ronda.
The Tajo de Ronda in 90 seconds
The colossal work of engineering keeps inside a museum where the story of its construction is told. Just nearby and overlooking the Puente Nuevo and the Tagus are the Parador de Ronda, which occupies the old town hall of 1761, the Alameda del Tajo, a wooded promenade created in 1806, and the Jardines de Cuenca, with terraces overlooking the emblematic canyon.
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Old Bridge of Ronda
However, the Nuevo is not the only footbridge that can be crossed in Ronda. The Arab Bridge, also called Roman, is a few meters from the Arab Baths. It is accessed through the Arch of Philip V, which was erected in 1741 to beautify the entrance to Ronda of visitors and merchants; it has lived many repairs so it preserves little traces of its origin of the eleventh century. Not far is the Old Bridge (XVI).
Arch of Philip V in Ronda
WALLS OF THE MEDIEVAL ROUND
The Arab walls of Ronda were reinforced in Christian times, encompassing in the western sector the wall of the Albacara, where the Gate of the Mills or of the Christ was opened. The Puerta de Almocabar was in the walled southern sector of the medina and was restructured in the period of Charles V: it takes its name from the word Al-maqabir (cemetery) and was one of the main accesses in the time of Arab rule.
Wall of Ronda
More remains of the walled canvas can be admired in the east of the city where is the wall of the Cijara and its door: this section in the old suburbs of the medina had a double defensive line. Finally, in the western sector extends the wall of the Albacara, whose function was to protect the agricultural areas and its mills, and shelter the cattle in case of risk; it has near the Puerta del Cristo or the Mills and the Puerta del Viento.
Church of Santa María la Mayor in Ronda
CHURCHES AND HERMITAGES OF A DEVOUT ROUND
Another of the most abundant patrimonies in Ronda are its churches, convents and hermitages. There is a route that runs through the main ones, such as Santa María la Mayor, which began to be built in the thirteenth century on the foundations of a Paleochristian basilica of the fifth century, on which the Great Mosque of the Muslim medina was also erected. The Alminar of San Sebastián, declared a Site of Cultural Interest, was part of the belt of mosques in the city; for years it was the bell tower of the disappeared temple of the same name. The church of the Holy Spirit is another of the oldest: it began in 1485, the year of the Christian conquest of the Catholic Monarchs. Other examples are the church of Father Jesus, which contains Mudejar and Baroque decorations; that of the Virgin of Peace, of the sixteenth century and where the image of the patron saint of the city is kept; or the baroque church of the Descalzos.
Convent of La Merced in Ronda
During the visit to Ronda you can also discover several convents (Clarisas, Santo Domingo, La Merced…), mainly from the 16th and 17th centuries. Some can be visited and there are those who have for sale the convent sweets they prepare for different celebrations of the year. And we must mention two hermitages of great interest in the surroundings: the cave Virgen de la Cabeza (9th-10th centuries), in the cave of San Antón, where the area of worship is still distinguished, the one occupied by the religious and a third by storage, and the cave hermitage of the Darkness, of Mozarabic roots.
Bullfighting square in Ronda
THE PLAZA DE TOROS DE RONDA
From the eighteenth century, and thanks to a thriving nobility, the monuments that most identify Ronda were built: the New Bridge and the bullring of the Real Maestranza de Caballería, declared a Cultural Interest for its history, architecture and …