Originally built at the end of the 15th century and beginning of the 16th century the church was dedicated to Santa Cecilia who at the time of the reconquest was enjoying a great deal of popularity as the patron saint of musicians and churches.
The tower and entrance of Padre Jesús is gothic having been part of the original church, the remainder is renaissance period.
In 1542, a few short years after the reconquest, and at a time when the market districts of Ronda were forming, the citizens of Ronda requested a new bridge that would directly connect La Ciudad with the highest point across the gorge, an area that was long and flat, and ideal for the expansion of Ronda which was already becoming crowded.
The El Tajo gorge offers a wealth of bird species to watch, in fact many tourists book rooms in hotels overlooking the gorge specifically to setup their binoculars on hotel terraces away from the crowds.
The area between the Puente Nuevo and the Jardines del Cuenca is a deep almost enclosed part of the gorge that buzzes with life, from flying insects to spiders, lizards and geckos, and of course the many birds that nest in the gorge or hunt for food here.
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One of the most popular dishes prepared around Spain, the pisto is basically a vegetable stew or ratatouille, and forms a popular base into which cured meats can be added, although one of the most famous versions of this recipe also adds egg (it looks like fried eggs sitting on top of the pisto).
A few kilometres from Ronda, just outside the white village of Benaojan lies one of the most spectacular cave systems in Spain, and in the mouth of one, several galleries of cave paintings that are as old as 30,000 years, and were created by paleolithic people of Ronda before the last great ice age. Best of all, the caves are open to the public with a local tour guide to explain the significance of the artwork.
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Curiously enough, this most Spanish of all dishes, which is practically a byword for “Spanishness”, is neither Spanish, nor is it known as “paella” here in Spain! The original recipe is lost in the mists of time, but scholars now believe that the dish was brought to Iberia by the Phoenicians, long before the birth of Christ.
If you wish to discuss paella with a Spaniard, please refer to it as “arroz” (rice), because that’s the name by which we know it. Though the most famous version hales from Valencia, paella is regarded as a local specialty in just about every corner of Spain.
The Arab Baths, known in Spanish as the Baños Arabes are one of Ronda’s most important tourist attractions, and some argue more important than the unquestionably beautiful Puente Nuevo, or Ronda’s other claim to fame, the Plaza de Toros, home of Ronda’s bullfighting tradition.
Ronda’s Arab Baths are similar to the design perfected by the Romans, except that steam was used to sweat out pollutants from the body rather than soaking in hot water as the Romans used. The Moors of Spain were also Muslim, so religious traditions were important, a Mosque was located next to the baths, and the baths were more than just a sanitary facility; they were also a place where locals and visitors alike would stop to purify and cleanse their bodies before entering the Mosque to purify their souls.