Gardens of Ronda
Favorite thing: Around the area of the old bridge and the church of Padre Jesus are several lovely example os typical gardens of Rona. Being springtime they were ablaze with colour and a delight to see - its quite OK to go in and have a look, you are often invited to by the friendly locals who are proud of their blossoms.
Church of Padre Jesus
Favorite thing: As we meandered across the old bridge the Church of Padre Jesus can be seen. This was a lively place on the Sunday we visited as first communions were taking place and it was like a party atmosphere with all the families out celebrating. Very close to the church is located the famous Fuente de los Ocho Caños (Eight Spouts Fountain). -see last pic.
Ronda - Gorge-ous Place! (sorry couldn't resist)
Favorite thing: Ronda is one of Andalusia's loveliest towns, steeped in history. It stands on a towering plateau in the mountains of Malaga Province, and is famous through Spain for the plunging river gorge, known as "El Tajo", which divides the medieval town from the 18th century parts of the town and spanned by the "Puente Nuevo" or New Bridge which formerly housed a prison. Incidentally the new bridge is from the 18th century so not that new now! The town itself has 3 main areas - the Barrio de San Francisco (reached first when driving from the coast) new Ronda (mercadillo, ‘little market’) and the old Moorish citadel, La Ciudad (best to visit here first)
Fondest memory: Its definitely a place not to be missed. I imagined it more touristic and easy to see in a day - but I was so wrong and someday we will be back here and to explore more of the surrounding countryside with its white villages.
Parador and Mirador Views
Favorite thing: Modern (largely built 18th century) Ronda is the quarter to the North of the gorge, called El Mercadillo, with the Plaza de España, the site of Ronda's recently built Parador, a spectacular walkway along the river gorge with superb views of the countryside below. This walkway leads to Ronda's lovely "Mirador", with colourful flower beds and a railing to lean against and gaze into the distant mountains - be warned it hangs over the cliff with a 300 ft drop. This mirador (= viewpoint) is immediately beyond the car park beside the bullring. These walkways or Passeos are named after two famous visitors: The Paseo Orson Welles runs behind the former market (now a modern Parador hotel, although the original town clock over Plaza de España still works) and leads from the bullring to the Puente Nuevo. The Paseo Ernest Hemingway heads behind the bullring towards the Alameda itself, and both have incomparable views of the mountains north and west of Ronda.
Walls of Ronda
Favorite thing: The Muralles , the extensive walls of Ronda, were built by the Moorish rulers in the 13th century. It originally enveloped the entire town, must have been very secure. Today, with the outer walls fallen (especially to the south, near the Arab baths), only two paths, two gates and one bridge offer routes out of the fortress city. The most impressive section, the westerly puerta del Almocábar, was only reconstructed in its original form in the late 20th century. Parts of the wall are still being rebuilt in the 21st century. We made an interesting detour from the part near the Arab bath around into the main town again. With the spring flowers it was a very pleasant walk and gave good views of the countryside and views back over Ronda's new town.
The even older - Moorish Bridge
Favorite thing: Yes there is yet another bridge in Ronda - The Moorish Bridge, sometimes mistakenly called the Roman Bridge. The bridge seen today looks neither Moorish or Roman as it has undergone several repairs due to flooding of the River Guadelevín - 19th century pictures shown the river to be much deeper and had rowing boats navigating it - not possible now with its diversion for irrigation and domestic use. Its a simple single arched bridge and from the vantage point of this Moorish Bridge you get great views of the Old Bridge.
The Old Bridge
Favorite thing: The older bridge - the Puente Viejo - built in the 16th century (but probably on remnants of an earlier bridge) was formerly the one navigable link between Mercadillo and La Ciudad until the completion of the new bridge - the Puente Nuevo. Its a striking view looking up to it - note the balconied niches on the bridge itself were introduced as part of restorations in the 18th century.
Just like the new bridge is was built to join the Moorish settlement with the new quarter that had grown up around the small market place, now known as Padre Jesus, after the conquering of the city.
Archway of Felipe V
Favorite thing: Just above the old bridge is a gate - Arco de Felipe V, from the same era. This gate would have been the only entrance to La Ciudad from this end of the town, making it a key defence. The gate was probably a substitute for an earlier gate from the Muslim period - it was constructed in the place known as the Moor's Armchair. A text engraved on a stone plaque tells us the gate was built in 1742.
Favorite thing: Driving through the steep narrow lane passing the "Palacio de Marques de Salvatierre (16th Century). The most interesting part is Ronda's Plaza de Toros one of the oldest in Spain inaugurated in 1785.
Fondest memory: Memorable is the Puente Nuevo (New Bridge), separate the old town and the new town.
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Ronda Tourist Information
Favorite thing: There is a useful Tourist Information at the Northern end of Plaze de Espana. We had little information about Ronda and no map in our guide book, so the free map they gave us here was very useful. They can also help with finding a hotel, train times and where to find a good Flamenco bar.
Flamenco in Ronda
Favorite thing: We were lucky enough to see Flamenco when we visited Ronda.
This was the semi-final of some local competition, which we had read about in the events guide we saw in the local English newspaper, and it was held in a bar over in Artesanos, in the western part to the Mercadillo district. Entry was free, the drinks were cheap and I'm pretty sure we were the only non locals present.
We arrived 30 minutes after we had started and as the entrance was beside the stage it was a little bit intimidating walking in mid song in front of a large crowd of locals. We made our way to the bar and ordered our beers.
I didn't know much about Flamenco before but I did have an image of dancing as well as singing. What we got was a guy sitting in a chair singing, accompanied by a guitarist. His voice was excellent though we didn't really understand what he was singing about - our Spanish is still very basic.
A BIT ABOUT RONDA
Favorite thing: Coming from the Celtic name Arunda "Surrounded by Mountains" RONDA stands on a towering plateau, which is divided in two by a plunging river gorge known as El Tajo. El Tajo is spanned by a bridge called the Puente Nuevo which was built in the 18th century and provides access to both sides of the town. On one side of the bridge is the Old Moorish town with many historic buildings and on the other side you will find El Mercadillo ( "Little Market" ) the more recent urban development, with shops, cafe's and restaurants. It is very popular with day-trippers from the Costa del Sol and tour companies bring tourists by the busload to this very picturesque town.
Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles resided in Ronda for many years and both wrote about its beauty. I have had the pleasure of visiting Ronda on two occasions. First in 2002 and in May 2006 with Matim (Ilse) and family.
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Favorite thing: The Romero Family, which produced three generations of the finest bullfighters, emerged in Ronda during the 18th century when bullfighting on foot replaced horsemen. The most famous in the family was PEDRO ROMERO ( 1754 - 1839 ) the leading and most representative figure in the history of bullfighting. Pedro started bullfighting at the tender age of eight and retired at the grand age of seventy-two, after spearing more than 5,600 bulls and without ever having received the slightest scratch. It was thanks to his personality, which combined courage and skill with a sense of beauty, that the profession gained respect and social dignity.
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ALMOCABAR & CHARLES V CITY GATES
Favorite thing: There are two main gateways into the town. One entrance is the PUERTO DE ALCOMBAR and the second is the 16th century Renaissance CHARLES V CITY GATE. We only had the chance to quickly look at the Gates as it was 4 p.m. and it was starting to rain. I even got rain spots on my pictures.
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COLEGIATA DE SANTA MARIA LA MAYOR
Favorite thing: By the time we got to COLEGIATA DE SANTA MARIA LA MAYOR it was 4 p.m. and starting to rain, so we didn't have much time to explore or take pictures of this lovely building. It was built on the site of what was once Ronda's main mosque. The Minaret was kept and used as the Belltower. There is a balcony area where nobility could enjoy sporting events going on in the square. Located on the north side of Plaza Duquesa de Parcant, just as you come into town.
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