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article imageOp-Ed: Ronda, Spain — Historic city perched on a mountain top Special

By Anne Sewell     Apr 13, 2012 in Travel
When visiting the Costa del Sol in sunny Spain, there's a magical place just waiting for you, just a short drive from Marbella and on top of a mountain.
OK, the drive up to Ronda can be a tad daunting as it winds around the hillside, but the views on the way (for passengers at least!) are astounding. And what you will find at the top makes the whole thing worthwhile.
Ronda, whilst traditionally Spanish, incorporates a lot of history - from the Romans to the Moors, they have all left their mark in the well preserved ruins and buildings to be found in the town.
Pictured on the left is the "New Bridge", which spans a deep gorge, El Tajo. While it was built some years ago, the name New Bridge has somehow stuck.
When crossing the bridge the view down to the bottom of the gorge is astounding and on either side of the gorge, houses seem to just cling to the edges and look likely to fall at any moment.
View across the gorge  Ronda  Spain
View across the gorge, Ronda, Spain
Behind the image of the New Bridge you will see a fascinating building - the House of the Moorish King. Still in impressive condition on the outside, however it is not possible to view the inner rooms as they have not yet been renovated for safety. The gardens are worth a visit though and were constructed by the great French Landscaper Forestier in 1912.
The house also has a mine which you can visit, which consists of a wide zigzagging staircase carved into the rock, covered by a fascinating system of stacked vaults. Visit the Sala del Manantial (Room of the Spring) from which slaves brought water to the King.
The Romans were first to build in the town and examples of bridges and walls can be viewed throughout. Then along came the Moors, who built walls, gates and arches in the city, all pretty much intact, and the interior of the Arab Baths can be viewed in pretty much the original state.
Arab Baths  Ronda  Spain
Arab Baths, Ronda, Spain
Arab Baths  Ronda  Spain
Arab Baths, Ronda, Spain
Here are some examples of the walls and bridges built by the Romans and Moors in the town - as you can see they are still in use and are in excellent condition:
Roman Bridge  Ronda  Spain
Roman Bridge, Ronda, Spain
Moorish bridge  Ronda  Spain
Moorish bridge, Ronda, Spain
And the fascinating Puerta de Almocabar, one of the gates of the original city, is a bit of an uphill climb to see:
Puerta de Almocabar. Ronda  Spain
Puerta de Almocabar. Ronda, Spain
The center of town is all traditional Spanish, with many restaurants, bars and cafes, along with plazas and churches. You will find many horses and carts available to take you on a comfortable tour:
Plaza in Ronda  Spain
Plaza in Ronda, Spain
Passing horse & cart  Ronda  Spain
Passing horse & cart, Ronda, Spain
Ronda  Spain
Ronda, Spain
Throughout the town there are museums to visit, including the Museo de Bandolero, where the history of the bandits who roamed Malaga and Cadiz up until the 20th century is now housed.
Blas Infante View Point  Ronda  Spain
Blas Infante View Point, Ronda, Spain
Famous people love this city - close to the Alameda del Tajo Park, you can visit the Paseo de Orson Wells - the famous actor loved Ronda and is, in fact, buried there. Ernest Hemingway was also very fond of the city and the Paseo de Hemingway has been named for him. He visited Spain during the Spanish Civil War, to report for the North American Newspaper Alliance.
Speaking of the Tajo Park, this is a lovely flowery strolling place with restful benches and the Blas Infante viewpoint where you can stand on a balcony over... a huge drop! See photo on the right.
The Plaza de Toros, or Bullring, of Ronda, is the oldest in Spain and was officially inaugurated in 1785 by the two bullfighters, Pedro Romero and Pepe Hillo. It is possible to visit the bullring, its museum and the surrounding buildings and paddocks.
And here are some more views of Ronda - the first being from the Blas Infante viewpoint:
View from the top  Ronda  Spain
View from the top, Ronda, Spain
And this view shows an Andalucian horse farm just below Ronda:
Views from the top  Ronda  Spain
Views from the top, Ronda, Spain
There are many more attractions to view in Ronda and it is well worth a visit. Bear in mind you need at least 3 days to see the town properly. In the summer months, July and August, Ronda is very hot, so take plenty of water. And to the other extreme, in mid winter, it is freezing cold there!
More photos of Ronda can be seen here.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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