Ronda´s History.

Ronda is one of Spain´s oldest cities, and for centuries its mountainous setting has made it difficult to reach. This has been a determining factor in the city´s history.

Ciudad de Ronda.

Various archeological discoveries have revealed that the area was inhabited in Neolithic times, though is generally accepted that human beings lived here even before then.
Among the most important prehistoric remains are those of the Cueva de la Pileta, one of the finest examples of Andalusian Paleolithic rock painting, along with the standing stones and tombs of the Encinas Borrachas and Dolmen del Chopo. There are also remnants from Roman times in Ronda, but the Roman city of Acinipo stands out on account of the magnificent state of its preservation.

Cueva de la Pileta.
Dolmen del Chopo.
Ciudad romana de Acinipo.

The Islamic period has arguably made the greatest historical and cultural impression on the city, as Ronda became the capital of one of the five provinces (known as "Kuras") of the Moorish kingdom of Al-Andalus. But the city reached the pinnacle of its glory in the Nazari kingdom of Granada, since both the city and its lands became a strategic borderland garrison of considerable importance.

Puerta Almocabar.
Murallas.

After the Muslim conquest, the Spanish Gothic communities beaten by the conquerors continued to live in these lands, faithfully preserving their customs and beliefs. These people were the "Mozárabes", and one of their ways of remaining united in the face of a dominant Islam was to hollow out churches in the rockfaces, which would serve as a place for meetings, worship and burials.

The Mozarabes of the 9th and 10th centurias left two examples of cave churches: the Virgen de la Cabeza just outside Ronda; and the Oscuridad, in the vicinity of the Los Arrayanes cottages.

Iglesia Virgen de la Cabeza.
Puente Nuevo.

The conquest of Ronda by the Catholic King and Queen in 1485 transformed the city´s appearance as well as its culture and business.

It was in the 18th century that most of Ronda´s famous sights were built, such as the Real Maestranza de Caballería bullring (the oldest in Spain), the Puente Nuevo bridge, etc.

Plaza de toros de Ronda.

Nevertheless, it was to be the 19th century that brought about the most legendary and romantic image of Ronda, with the appearance of the Serranía bandits, the bourgeoisie with their beautiful palaces, and the dynasties of bullfighters who made this city the capital of bullfighting.

A number of famous writers and artists have felt a special fondness for the appeal of this city: among others, Rafael Alberti, Jorge Luis Borges, Gerardo Diego, Vicente Espinel, Federico García Lorca, Ernest Hemingway, Juan Ramón Jiménez, James Joyce, Rainer María Rilke and the film director Orson Welles.

But today Ronda means much more than all this. Enjoying its tranquillity, its nature, the friendliness of its people, its natural warmth, its traditional cuisine, its beauty.

Ernest Hemingway.

Wandering through the hidden streets and alleys of the city, breathing in the sensations of the romanticism of days past, or lapping up the pleasure of tapas and wine in its taverns while awaiting the Goyesca bullfight.


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