Ronda’s Request to King Juan Carlos For UNESCO World Heritage Status

The city of Ronda has formally requested the support of Spain’s king Don Juan Carlos as efforts get underway to have Ronda declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with Francisco ‘Paquirri’ Rivera, Ronda’s most famous son signing his name to the petition.

At Fitur 2011 in Madrid this week Ronda and Cuenca, which is already a UNESCO World Heritage Site, have joined forces in a combined tourism display emphasising the city twinning and similarities between the two. A delegation from the Cuenca Office of Tourism has been helping Ronda’s tourism officials understand the process of applying for UNESCO status, with plans now well advanced.

UNESCO World Heritage Status would mean Ronda would join the ranks of over 900 places around the world considered worth protecting for their universal value to humanity and the environment. This would also enhance the protections inherent in Ronda’s old city and the surrounding area, particularly since the Grazalema, and Sierra de las Nieves Natural Parks are included in the UNESCO MAB Biosphere Reserves Directory.

The mayor of Ronda Antonio Marin Lara, and deputy mayor Francisco Cañestro, will travel to Madrid again next week for an official meeting with the king where they expect to receive a favourable response. Don Juan Carlos’s signature on the UNESCO petition is seen as crucial to the success of the application.

Ronda is already well known internationally for iconic buildings such as the Puente Nuevo, Plaza de Toros, the Arab Baths, and in the vicinity for the cave paintings at Pileta, the Roman ruined city of Acinipo, and of course the variety of pristine nature in the district. Securing UNESCO World Heritage listing would add to the prestige these sites have, and boost directly tourism including hotel reservations.

In related news, the city will soon get a new pavement in the Blas Infante park dedicated to the best bullfighters who form part of the Corrida Goyesca, and will be similar to the Hollywood walk of stars, with famous toreros leaving their hand imprint in the concrete. The walk will be known as the Paseo de los Toreros and it is hoped will boost tourism as well as offer visitors more to see in the city.