Category Archives: History

Andalusia, Plaza del Socorro and Blas Infante

Visitors to Ronda are often confused about why our central plaza features a statue of a semi-naked man with two lions by his side and a couple of pillars behind him. What is their significance, and why do so many people take photos of the fountain?

The answer lies in Andalusian nationalism and one of the most important events in recent Andalusian political history, the Assembly of Ronda in 1918 when the father of Andalusian nationalism, Blas Infante, unfurled the flag and symbols of Andalusia whilst standing on the first floor balcony of the ‘Circulo de Artistas’; the building directly behind the fountain with red CA lettering above the windows. Continue reading Andalusia, Plaza del Socorro and Blas Infante

Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows (Templete de la Virgen de los Dolores)

Ronda and the Serrania surround it have been lawless lands for millennia, not even the iron grip of the Almohads could stamp out rebellions and banditry, so it is hardly surprising that capital punishment has been so widely used.

In Ronda (close to the junction between Calle Santa Cecilia and Calle Virgen de los Dolores) nowhere is this more obvious and chilling than the Temple of Our Lady of Sorrows, also known as the Shrine of the Hanged, with its frightening depictions of condemned men’s eyes bulging as they desperately try to get a last breath while the hangman’s noose crushes their windpipe. Continue reading Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows (Templete de la Virgen de los Dolores)

Ronda’s Arab Walls and City Gates

Part of the reason Ronda is so important in the history of Andalucia directly relates to how secure the city was from attack, a position that allowed Ronda to develop and be independent, or at least nominally so, and the city walls in combination with the gorge and rio Guadalevin made Ronda impervious from attack until the age of cannon.

Whilst wooden palisades existed to protect neolithic communities and their successors before the constructions of the Roman castle, the reality is that most of the stone walls around Ronda directly owe their construction to the Islamic era, a period that spanned close to 800 years from 712 until 1485. Continue reading Ronda’s Arab Walls and City Gates

The Romero Dynasty and Ronda’s Bandoleros

Bullfighting and banditry almost go hand in hand in Ronda, or at least they did in the early days when the Romero dynasty first came to prominence. A major part of the culture and history of modern Andalucia, bullfighting shows no signs of diminishing in Southern Spain, in fact both main political parties in the parliament of Andalucia seem determined to protect the art for the enjoyment of future generations.

Banditry on the other hand has had a much longer history, and these days is nothing more than a romantic memory, the last bandits having been shot or arrested by Franco’s Guardia Civil in the middle of the 20th century. Starting in the 9th century during the rise of the Islamic era, banditry was often more about politics and tax avoidance than outright thievery, though of course the objective was always to relieve wealthier people of their precious possessions. Continue reading The Romero Dynasty and Ronda’s Bandoleros

History of Grazalema Village in the Sierra de Cadiz

Almost every visitor to the Serrania de Ronda will hear about the beauty of Grazalema in the Cadiz province, technically the village is located within the western reaches of the Sierra de Cadiz that also includes the villages of El Bosque, Zahara de la Frontera, Algodonales, and Olvera, and is the north-eastern tip of Cadiz province.

Grazalema is one of the famous white villages of Andalucia, considered by many to be amongst the most beautiful, and given that it is broadly in the centre of its namesake, the Grazalema Natural Park which is equally as famous, it is hardly any wonder the village has such a reputation. Continue reading History of Grazalema Village in the Sierra de Cadiz