Bridge of Ronda
The New Bridge or "Puente Nuevo" is, together with the bullring, the symbol of the historic city of Ronda.
The first attemt to span the 120 meter deep gorge that divides the two parts of Ronda with a bridge started in 1735 and was completed in eight months. However it collapsed killing 50 people.
In 1751 the start of a new bridge was initiated and this time it took 42 years, finishing in 1793. The bridge has a height of 98 meters and its masonary was taken from the rock in the depth of the Tajo gorge.
The architect was Martin de Aldehuela who in the same period also designed Ronda´s bullring.
There is a chamber in the central arch that was used for a variety of purposes, including a prison.
The bridge allowed Ronda to further develop, connecting the market´s quarter with the old town
Bullring of Ronda
Ronda´s bullring is one of the oldest in Spain. Designed by Martin de Aldehuela, who also designed the "New Bridge", it is considered, due to it´s character and beauty, one of Spains main monumental buildings.
Ronda is considered the birthplace of modern bullfighting.
In the 18th century the cavalry and its equestrian art was very popular in Ronda. It inspired King Phillip II to found the Real Maestranza de Caballeria de Ronda, or the Royal Cavalry Order of Ronda.
Part of the equestrian execises, as was a tradition in those days, were ability games with the bulls.
The Ronda bullring opened in 1785 after six years of building. The masonary is sandstone and there are two layers of seating each with five raised rows and 136 pillars that make 68 arches.The royal box has a sloping roof covered in arabic tiles. In the absence of uncovered spaces its galleries breathe more the spirit of a cloister then of a bullring.
In the eighteenth century gradually "toreros" on foot took the place of the horse knights.
Soon after the completion of the bullring the Romero family emerged to provide three generation of toreros. Until this day the figure of Pedro Romero (1754-1839) remains one of the main and most representative figures in the art of bullfighting. In his life he engaged more then 5000 bulls without suffering any kind of major injury. He is still respected for his art: courage, ability and esthetical beauty is what he brought to the bullring.
The twentieth century contributed to the second generation of Ronda bullfighters. Cayetano Ordoñez and his son Antonio Ordoñez achieved world wide acclaim, having attracted the interest of persons like Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles who became close friends.
All four of them now have bronze statues around the "plaza de toros".
it was Antonio Ordoñez who in 1954 founded the Goyesca bullfight in which decoration and clothing brings us back toi the age of the famous painter Fransisco de Goya.
In more recent days Ordoñeses grandsons, Francisco Rivera and his brother Cayetano have been celebrating their fame as toreros in the Ronda bullring. Cayetano stayed many years in Hotel la Fuente de la Higuera when he came to fight in the Goyesca.
The palace of Mondragon, also known as Palace of the Marquis of Villasierra, is a wonderful building regarding its architectonical aspects, and, without any kind of doubts, is the most significant civil monument of Ronda.
The legend tells that it was formerly home of the great king Abbel Malik or Abomelic, son of the Morocco's sultan Abul Asan. Few years later after the death of Abomelic, the kingdom of Ronda was dependent on the kingdom of Granada, and it is also known that the last arab governor Hamet el Zegrí lived also at this palace.
It is difficult, without an archaeological exploration, to know the aspect of this palace at the arab age, but it can be assured that the building had to be organized around the courtyard next to the Tajo, adding also the garden. The current space between the the two suporting walls of the façade did not exist.
At the Christian age the most important alterations of the palace were done. From that age is the closest courtyard to the Tajo, from where you can get access to the garden. It is a very original courtyard with triple low archade at three of its sides over semicircular arches, fine done with bricks over marble columns consisting of base, chapitel and abacus. One fine brick lace draws an horizontal line, tangent to the direction of the arches.
The edge is also made of bricks, generating one plane space between the edge itself and the space were the semicircular space of the arches begins. It is decorated with sumtuous ceramics, which also appear at the triangular space between each arch and the square envolving the arches, in this case with circles, giving the aspect of the Renaissance style.
The second courtyard belongs to the late Gothic style, with stone columns at each side of the door with chapitels with a different use as its original, holding up wooden bases which leads to the intermediate stage, where the different museum rooms are located.
The entrance courtyard is very nice, with a galery at each of its sides, containing semicircular arches, with brick decoration at its basis and top, over columns with Corinthian base and chapitel of the Renaissance style of great quality. Similar to this courtyard was built at Seville the Patio de
Levies, which at the moment has been rebuilt as gallery at the Reales Alcázares.
In the 18th century was built the exterior side of the façade, with an important masonry and double columns over a Dorian base and Ionic pillaster chapitel, being the top one pediment broken at its midle point in order to put inside one third decorative order consisting of pairs of Corinthian columns. All that decoration of the 18th century is shown at the ground floor adding also the halt and the formerly stables.
It is also remarkable the noble room of the palace with a wonderful mudejar coffered ceiling.
This thermal building of the arab time is the best conserved of its kind at the Iberian Peninsula. It is located at the old arab quarter of the city, today called San Miguel Quarter, being the formerly outside quarter of the arab medina (city) of Ronda.
The bahts were built near the Arroyo de las Culebras (snakes' stream), a perfect place in order to be provided of water, which was moved by a waterwheel, in an current perfect conservation state.
The chronology of the Ronda arab bahts starts at the 13th-14th centuries. The bath is divided into three main zones, following the Roman model of thermal buildings:cold water, warm water and hot water bathrooms. The hydraulic system of the thermal bath has arrived to our days almost complete.
The central room is the biggest and has got three parts, separated by four pairs of horseshoe arches above bricks and stone columns, which have the function of holding up barrel vaults, with nice skylights forming stars, closed with glass.
The building is surrounded by one wall with blind arches (no light can be seen through them) and has got at its end a tower containing the waterwheel structure. The boiler area is also conserved, where the water was heated, as well as rests of a tannery, which was the main activity of this place after the christian conquest of the city, which meant that the use of the building as thermal baths was neglected.
Palace of the Arabian King
This building is located at the Cuesta de Santo Domingo street. The first documental proof of the existance of this great house-palace dates from the 18th century. The building has been restored and changed its structure several times due to the different owners it had through the time.
The houseground is irregular and labyrinthian, with lots of stairs and corridors used in order to save without difficulty the different ground levels. The facade, with a great lenght, is adapted to the street's curvature, and has got two towers with different height, as well as two doors.
Belonging to its arabic origin, it conservs one watermine. It is a very complex arab work, that descends to the bottom of the Tajo, where the Guadalevin River flows. It was built using one natural vertical crack at the stones. From the house starts one stair consisting of more than 200 steps descending vertically about 100 metres. Inside there can be found some rooms, used for magazine and grain warehouse.
The building containing this arab work is actally closed to visitors, but the mine as well as its wonderful balcony gardens can be admired. The gardens have always got water at fountains and waterlanes, designed and built at 1923 by the famous architect and painter Forestier, with French ancistors, being the work ordered by the Duchess of Parcent. It is a garden with different stages, reached by stairs decorated with ceramics and with fountains and ponds filled with plenty of water lilies on its sides.
Arab Walls and City Gates
The location of Ronda at the top of a rocky hill has given the city, among its history, a strong strategic as well as defensive value. The Medina was located here at the Arab age, with well defined city limits drawn on one side, by the natural border given by gorge made on the mountains by the Guadalevin river and, on the other side, by the city walls themselves.
From the important city wall, well conserved today, we have to remark specially the Almocabar gate, located at the southern part of the medina, built at the 13th century and restored, and changed its aspect, at the age of Charles V. This gate takes its name from the Arab word“Al-maqabir“, that means cementery, because it is located near the main city cementery, outside the city walls, as common between the arabs. It was one of the main entrance city gates and it gave the access to the High city quarter, today called of the Holy Spirit, as well as the entrance to the Arab Medina.
Halfway through the 16th century, a new access entrance was added to the front side of the gate, with quadrate ground and main entrance with battlements made according to the Renaissance style,consisting of a semicircular arch made of stone, and over it a big royal arm coat with the Spanish empire eagle on it.
Another remarkable point of the city walls is located at the eastern side of the city: the walls and gates of Cijara. This area consists of a double defensive line where the islamic outside quarters as well as the Arab public baths were located.
At least, it is interesting to mention the western side city walls of Albacara, whose function was to defend the productive areas of the city (the mills) and to keep the casttle in case of danger for the city.
At this city sector there can be found two other entrance gates to the medina: The Gate called of Jesus Christ or of the Mills and the Wind Gate.
Palace of the Marquis of Salvatierra
Located at the historical city quarter of Ronda and next to the Padre Jesús quarter, it has got a magnificient baroque facade made of stone masonry with a linteled door, Corynthian columns and a great typical of Ronda forging balcony.
The façade ends with a broken pediment. Inside there can be seen nude figures, with an Indian influence in his aspect.
The male figures are joking and showing their thonges, while the female, while they are covering their nude bodies. Both kind of figures are holding the lintel, and at the centre of it is located the noble arm coat of the family leaded by Vasco Martín de Salvatierra, representative of the Catholic Kings after the conquest of Ronda. The palace's inside show how austere Ronda palaces were in the 17th and 18th century.
St. Sebastian's Minaret
The minaret of St. Sebastian was formerly a small tower belonging to one of the mosques of Ronda and later was used as bell tower of the also disappeared church of St. Sebastian. It was declared as historical monument in 1.931.
Consisting of a square ground, it has got three stages of elevation. The two first were built at the 14th century, and the third belongs to the christian age.
At the west side there can be found one door having a horseshoe arch leading to one little room with a groin vault. Over the door can be found one lintel with long voussoirs combining with others set into the wall. The lintel is sorrounded by one double lace, remaining in it rests of glassy ceramics coloured in green.
The first stage were built with ashlars, and each side ends at a different heigth, as if the work were suddenly stopped and later ended with bricks.
The second stage were built with bricks, laid in a stretcher bond. At the centre of each side there can be found one rectangular stretch, sank into the wall. At this point, two openings are located with horseshoe arches in order to light inside the tower. Originally, the rectangles were decorated with brick arches, cut making a romboidal form, but they do not exist any longer.
The second stage ends in a bricks edge, coming slightly outside the walls, and also in a glassy ceramics lace, separate from the third stage, built also with bricks after the christian conquest.
Church of the Holy Spirit
The building of these church started in 1485, the same year of the conquest of the city. The catholic monarchs ordered the construction of the church, which finished twenty years later. Its sober façade is situated between two vigorous buttresses, which embrace it up and down. The façade ends in a pediment, with one porthole at its tympanum as only decoration. The façade has also got one stained glass geminate window and under it, one niche with one dove representing the Holy Spirit. Without any kind of doubt, the church has the aspect of a fortification.
The church consists of one nave with three vaults each of them divided into six parts by ribs. Before reaching the toral arch, two chapels can be seen, covered both of them with star form vaults. The chapels represent the Virgin of Fatima and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The zone of the presbytery is covered with one eigth ribs vault. The ribs are situated over semicircular arches.
The high altar has got one barroc retable, very similar to the rococo style, containing one painting over wood influenced by the Byzantine style, representing The Virgin Mary called "de la Antigua" (the old) and also the arrival of the Holy Spirit.
It is also remarkable one of the side chapels, with the sculpture of Jesus dead and at his sepulcher, represented by one wonderful funerary case. This sculpture is taken through the streets of Ronda at a procession celebrated the Good Friday's evening.
The outside of the church has a solid aspect, due to its origin as fortification tower, part of the city wall. The church has got great buttresses, those end are Renaissance pinnacles. The masonry façade consists of a semicircular arch surrounded by one mudejar style frame.
In one word, what we can see is a very homogeneus gothic building.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday:10:00 - 14:00.
Prices:Individual: 1 €. Groups + 10 persons 0,60 €. children - 10 years old gratis.
St. Domingos's Convent
Ordered to be built by the Catholic Monarchs on 25th July 1485, although construction did not begin until the beginning of the sixteenth century, under the patronage of Saint Peter, martyr for the Order of Santo Domingo. Towards the end of eighteenth century it was in a lamentable condition and part if which was given to widen the access to the New Bridge. In mid - nineteenth century it passed into private ownership, and a market was installed, for which part of the building was demolished. In the first half of the twentieth century it suffered a fire and in the 50’s a cooperative of carpenters. Acquired by the town hall in the 80’s, the renovation of which used conserved parts in order to make a new building.
The convent had various parts, the principal of which if the Chapel, which has been preserved until today, located in the south east of the building. It has a rectangular floor, divided into three auditoriums, the wider central and higher cover with coloured Mudejar decorations. The separation of the auditoriums is via the gothic arches, held by pillars with circular moldings and semi circular aches on rectangular pillars. The entrance to the church is through the side of the building via a simple doorway. The other part if the convent of which some is conserved is the cloister, with wide semicircular arches with molded threads and supported on plain shaft columns and Corinthian capitals.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday: 11:00-14:00 & 16:00 - 20:00. Sunday 11:00 - 14:00
The Moctezumas Palace in Ronda
Wandering the labyrinthine streets of Ronda’s town centre we are at once aware of its Arabian past. We can see escutcheoned palaces, residences of conquerors, alternating with small houses endowed with peculiar grille works and permanently coloured white. Here is the astonishing Moctezumas’ Palace, today Joaquin Peinado’s Museum. It is very close to the Casa del Gigante, Santa María church, and Mondragón Palace. The Moctezumas’ Palace displays a fine escutcheoned porch, the heraldry of which indicates the identity of the family who built it: don Pedro Manuel de Moctezuma and his wife doña María de Rojas. On the lintel on the left hand side we find the Moctezumas’ imperial arms; on the opposite side the Rojas’ coat of arms, and in the centre the capital letters A and M, a religious acronym of Ave Maria, to indicate that the place is consecrated.
The building, aside from its artistic value, has an interesting historical role: it is a testimony to the sojourn in Ronda of the last of the Aztec emperor’s heirs. The Moctezuma family of Ronda was the main branch and included the only direct male heir of the last Aztec emperor, Moctezuma II (1502-1520). Carlos V granted the family their own coat of arms in October 1539. We can see this historic coat of arms wrought on the front of the Palace: thirty crowns representing the thirty states which formed the Mexican empire, the eagle, the ocelot, the griffons and the imperial crown.
The inside of the building is of the same design as traditional Rondeña dwellings of the XIX and XX centuries, with its rooms arranged around two courtyards. The first of them, with a straight porticoed gallery above two columns of flat timber, forms a sort of antechamber from the rest of the inner space. The second one is only porticoed on its north side, through a lintel gallery with columns above high plinths. The chapel built in 1902 helps to close the other end of this fine space.
Among the different rooms of the two floors devoted to exhibiting Joaquin Peinado’ pictorial works, the Salón Mudejar is outstanding. The name comes from the fine panelling that covers the sitting-room. We can categorise them as part of the Mudejar-Renaissance aesthetic. The S-shaped finials of the corbels and armoured lintels, the reels and the cross pieces and eight pointed stars with rosettes like suns, are all clearly of the Mudejar style.