|Puerte Nuevo, completed in 1793.|
Founded by the Romans, conquered by ancient empires, Ronda finally fell to the Arabs in 713, from whom it received its rich Islamic architectural and cultural heritage. Painted bright white to reflect the hot summer sun, and built on the edge of cliffs and hillsides as a natural defense against invaders, the village offers dramatic scenery and vistas.
A good place to start your exploration of Ronda is to walk beside the deep gorge carved by the Guadalevin River. Along the paved path are views of the hilly surroundings, handsome old mansions, and several more older bridges across the ravine.
|Walking trail along El Tajo Canyon and the Guadalevin River.|
|Palacio de Mondragon at the top of the photo.|
|The pedestrian-only Puente San Miguel.|
|The Puente Viejo, also known as the Arab Bridge.|
At the bottom of the cliffside path are Ronda's 11th century Arab baths, thought to be the best preserved in Europe. The cool, underground chambers and seating for the informational video are a welcome respite from walking in the hot sun.
Ronda's bullring was built in the 16th century as a training facility for developing horsemanship, but in 1726, when Francisco Romero, from Ronda, used a sword and cape in the arena in a bullfight, he gave birth to modern bullfighting as it is performed in Spain and other countries of the world today. The guided tour of the complex (6.50 € per person) is extremely interesting, as is the accompanying bullfighting museum. What my kids (and I!) found extraordinarily cool about Ronda's bullring (as opposed to Seville's bullring, which we also toured) was that we were allowed into the ring! Needless to say, my son enjoyed a little role-playing:
Also exciting is visiting the bullpens:
Old Town Ronda
On the south side of the fabulous Puerte Nuevo bridge is the old quarter of town, with narrow cobbled streets, sunny Plaza del Socorro, and charming whitewashed residences.
|Plaza del Socorro in Ronda|