Ronda certainly deserves the title of one of the Jewels of Andalucia. It is a picture postcard town located in the most idyllic and picturesque setting. The area is thought to have been first settled by Celts in the 6th century BC, and who gave it the name Arunda.
Like most towns or cities in Andalucia, Ronda has an Old Town and a New Town. Unlike most towns or cities, the two parts of Ronda are situated on a clifftop and separate by a 120-metre gorge known as El Tajo.
El Tajo has been formed by the Guadalevin River, eroding the limestone rock that forms the plateau the Ronda sits upon. The gorge is spanned by three bridges, the Roman Bridge, the Old Bridge, and the New Bridge. The Roman Bridge is the oldest bridge, and the New Bridge is actually more than 200 years old, having been completed in 1794. The New Bridge was commissioned to be built on this site after a previous bridge, built on the same spot in 1735, collapsed in 1741 due to poor construction, killing fifty people.
Ronda is also very famous for its bullring which was built in the neo-classical style, being completed in 1784. Today, the bullring of Ronda is used for bullfighting during just one week of the year during Ronda’s biggest festival, the ‘Feria Goyesca de Pedro Romero’ and which takes place during the first week of September every year. For the other 51 weeks of the year, the bullring of Ronda is open to the public as a bullfighting and equestrian museum.
Ronda is a romantic town, filled with winding streets, dramatic views, interesting museums, and lots of friendly restaurant where you can relax and enjoy the essence of Ronda. It has a varied cultural past, a history of banditry, of Napoleonic invasion and is also said to hold saintly Christian relics.
Ronda has beguiled many a famous traveller, including Orson Welles and Ernest Hemingway, as well as the famous 20th century German poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, who were all seduced by the beauty and history of this town. Hemingway is said to have been inspired by the famous Puente Nuevo, (New Bridge), in Ronda when writing his account of Spanish Civil War atrocities in his book, For Whom the Bell Tolls. Ronda also beguiled the artist Goya, and his paintings added to the romantic notion of the town.
Ronda is the perfect Andalucian town to explore at your own pace. As well as its spectacular setting, dramatic gorge, three bridges and one of the oldest bullrings in Spain, it has many other interesting places for visitors to explore such as Palacio Mondragon, (museum), the Arab Baths, Ronda town park, (Alameda del Tajo), or The House of The Moorish King with its gardens and winding internal stone stairway that takes you from street level to river level.
Ronda is an Andalucian Jewel that has beguiled many a traveller…. we are sure that it will beguile you too!
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