HISTORIC RONDA


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Spanish version
2014 tourist guide

Situated in the far northwest of the province of Malaga, Ronda sits on an outcrop of rock. In a basin surrounded by mountain ranges, the height and length of which make access to the town difficult. This fact together with the climate, hydrology and geology of the area, has left an indelible stamp on its history. One of the oldest towns in Spain, Ronda has its origins in Prehistory. The cave of the Pileta, a true relic of Andalusian stone age art, is one of the most significant remains of this period together with vanous groups of megalithic monuments such as the Dolmen of the Chopo (Poplar).

Ronda

Scattered around the province one finds various remains from the Roman period, the most important being the archeological site of the Roman town of Acinipo. Nevertheless, the most striking aspect of the cultural heritage of Ronda and its surroundings is Arabic. Under muslim rule the town rose to importance as the capital of one of the five coras of Al-Andalus. This influence has impregnated the style of building, the gastronomy, agricultural practices and many other traditions in the region. The conquest of the town by the Catholic kings in 1485 was followed by a penod of cultural and structural reorganisation, but it is in the 18th century that the city become clear. In the general context of Andalusia, it was during this period that the most significant and emblemabc monuments of Ronda were built the New Bridge and the Bullring.

The romanic image of the town was forged, without doubt during the 19th century with banditry and bullfighting making a strong impression on the minds of distinguished travellers. These two aspects have since become symbolic or the culture and tradibons of the area, nevertheless, Ronda has a wealth of culture and tradition which goes beyond this over simplified image, and it is this diversity on which the present day attraction of the town and the Serrania is based.

SERRANIA DE RONDA

This a region of great natural diversity, ranging from chestnut tree forests, to calcareous landscapes ("torcales") in Cartajima, from the Ronda plateau to the deep Genal River Valley, from the Lfbar meadow to the Laurel forests of La Sauceda. Natural Parks such as La Sierra de Las Nieves or Los Alcornocales (cork oaks), whose hillsides are soaking with winding streams which often flow into narrow gorges, are also found here. Or the Grazalema Natural Park, where we can enjoy a great geologic and biologic diversity. The "pinsapo" (a Spanish kind of fir) is a unique species which can be witnessed in Sierra Bermeja and Sierra de Grazalema, though the main quantity is to be found in Sierra de Las Nieves Natural Park.

Nature

The forests, valleys and rivers of its mountains provide shelter for various species, such as wild goats, otters, polecats, storks, falcons, Egyptian vultures, griffon vultures, kites, booted eagles and short-toed eagles. From immemorial times, its inhabitants have built all sorts of infrastructure in order to find shelter (caves, houses, palaces), protect themselves (castles, walls), provide nourishment (farms, mills), harness the water (irrigation channels, wells, aqueducts), enjoy themselves (baths, theatres) or to take Religious vows (mosques, churches, images, altarpieces). The most representative feature of the Town of Ronda is the spectacular gorge carved by the river Guadalevin throughout centuries, which has been officially declared a Natural Monument, and its amazing old town, ostentation of the splendorous art of 13th to 19th Centuries. The Roman Town of Acinipo, built upon an Iberian urban settlement dating back from 1st Century B.C., is also remarkable.

We can also find the "Cueva de La Pileta" (Basin Cave), an important national monument where extraordinary paintings from the late Palaeolithic are sheltered. Leisure and fun are also guaranteed by a wide range of complementary activities, which can be enjoyed by all sorts of people in close contact with nature. Paragliding, submerging into caves and chasms, flying on a balloon, horse riding, animal-watching, walking or biking and visiting museums and monuments are among the possibilities. Its fertile land provides a number of delicious products.

The genuine taste of local products is the main feature of a gastronomy which is a special bond between generations. Iberian and white pork, lamb, goat cheese, vegetables and products made from chestnuts and almonds stand out among a wide range. As for handcraft, rustic furniture from Ronda, iron forge, the working of esparto, palm and wicker, or dry flower are particularly remarkable.

SIERRA DE LAS NIEVES

The "Sierra de Las Nieves" (Snow Mountains) is an outdoor natural museum which soars abrupt among impressively deep cliffs. A space full of history and culture, the biological diversity of this Natural Park and Biosphere Reservation is original and varied, as a result of its pri vileged location between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. In the old days, the "neveros" (snow collectors) would store the snow in wells in order to distribute it among the villages of the province in the summer. Hence the name of this mountain range. The Sierra de Las Nieves harbours Malaga's highest peak, Torrecilla, of 1,919 metres; and one of the planet's deepest chasms, of which 1,098 metres have been explored thus far. Each corner is a little paradise; each gully, a microcosm; each headland, a challenge.

But the real botanical star is the PINSAPO, a type of Andalusian fir inherited from the glacial past of the region, and which has endured thanks to the special conditions of the area. It mingles with high-mountain gall-oaks, pine trees, ilexes and cork oaks, forming an amazing forest of high ecological and scenic value. Wild cats, foxes, wild goats and "meloncillos" (a kind of mongoose) can be found around it, while eagles, vultures, kestrels and a number of songbirds fly overhead.

Craft tradition and technological innovation, the calmness of manual labour and the dizzy speed of the latest technology, mingle in all nine villages which this region comprises. Any time of the year is good to get to know the Sierra de Las Nieves. The mountains teem with a wide variety of colourful flowers in spring. There isn't a sound more pleasant in the hottest months than that of water running down the mountain in its rivers, streams, fountains and waterfalls. The cold begins to take hold in autumn, as announced by the leaf-covered ground. And winter covers the mountaintops in a white snow cloak, a mind-blowing sight which is witnessed by a great number of visitors who gather in amazed curiosity.

RONDA MONUMENTS

LA MERCED CHURCH - Building from 16th - 17th Century, it is remarkable the goldened silver reliquary with precious stones containing the incorrupt hand of St Therese of Jesus.

ALAMEDA PARK - It is an exceleflt tree-lined avenue of the 19th Century that o offers some wonderfuls views.

BULLRING - It is recognized as one of the oldest and most monumental bull ring. It was opened in 1785. From 1954 is held the costume Goyesca bullfights. Bullfighting Museum inside.

THE GIANT'S HOUSE - Nazari Palace (13th - 15th Century). In its interior conserves an important collection of plaster-works and an extraordinary artesonado Nazari.

SHRINE TEMPLE "VIRGEN DE LOS DOLORES" - Baroque Chapel of the 18th Century.

Puente Nuevo

NEW BRIDGE - Built at the-end of 18th Century on the river Guadalevin. It is the real symbol of the city. Its interior contains an interestmg center of interpretation.

LA PAZ CHURCH - Baroque Sanctuary of the Mistress of Ronda (Virgen de la Paz).

HOUSE OF DON BOSCO - Modernist Building with excelent views. 19th - 20th Century.

WALLS OF ALBACARA - Line of wall of Moslem period destmed to defend the mills that were placed in the gorge of the Tajo. It preserves its two gates of access: Door of the Mills or Arch of the Christ and Door of the Wind.

MONDRAGON PALACE - Important building of the 1611. It emphasizes the MudeJar style and its magnificent courts. The most significant Civil monument of Ronda. Headquarters of the Museum of Ronda.

ST. CECILIA CHURCH - This building was formetly a Convent of to the Barefoot Trinity Order. Its Baroque Church conserves interesting altarpieces of the 18th Century.

ARAB BRIDGE - 11th Century.

GARDENS OF CUENCA - Wonderful views.

FOUNTAIN OF EIGHT SPRINGS - Magnificent fountain built by Felipe V (18th Century).

PADRE JESUS CHURCH - Exponent of the Gothic-Reinassance architecture.

ARAB BATHS - (13th - 14th Century). To emphasize the remains of the tanneries (16th Century).

GATE AND WALL OF THE CIJARA - Gateway that was communicating the low suburb with the Medina.

CHURCH OF THE HOLY GHOST - Church-fortress built in the reign of Fernando "El Catolico" (13th Century).

GATE AND WALLS OF ALMOCABAR - Principal gateway of access to the city. 11th Century.

"VIRGEN DE LA CABEZA" CHURCH - Cave Church of Mozarobic epoch (9-10th Century), excavated entirely in the rock. Wonderful panoromics of the gorge.

SAINT MARY CHURCH - Dates from the 15th Century, and was the principal mosque, was converted into a Church by Fernando "El Catolico.

TOWN HALL - Built in 1734, Was formerly a military quarter.

MOORISH KING'S HOUSE - Palace from the 18th Century. In its Interior stands out Forestier's gardens and the Mina's stairs, impressive Islamic work.

ALMINAR OF SAN SEBASTIAN - Interesting remains of one of the Islamic Mosques of Ronda (14th Century).

MOCTEZUMA PALACE - Important civil building. In its interior stands out a magnificent Mudejar coffered ceiling and the Neogothic church.

ARCH OF FELIPE V - Old gateway of access to Ronda (18th Century).

RONDA MUSEUMS

LARA'S MUSEUM - Located in the House Palace of the Counts of the conquest. It dates from the 18th Century. The most important private collection of Spain. Tel. 952871263.

HUNTING MUSEUM - It shows part of the wild hunting fauna of the Serrania de Ronda, as well as other different animal species coming from other continents, Building of 18th Century. Tel. 952877862.

THE BANDIT MUSEUM - Is the only one in Spain concerning this subject (the bandoleros or bandits). It shows the history of this social phenomenon, Consists of five galleries. Tel. 952877785.

Bullring

BULLFIGHTING MUSEUM - Authentic tour through the history of the Bullfighting and the bullfighting festivities happened in the bullring of Ronda, It is situated inside the same bullring, Tel. 952874132.

MUSEUM OF RONDA - Located at the Mondragon Palace, Architectural Jewel from 16-18th Centuries. Tel. 952878450.

MUSEO JOAQUIN PEINADO - Placed in the Palace of Moztezuma, Civil building where there is exhibited an important collection (drawings and oils) of the painter from Ronda Joaquin Peinado, distinguished member from the Spanish School of Paris, Ronda 1898 - Paris 1975. Tel. 952871585.
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