Tag Archives: Acinipo

Acinipo Ampitheatre

Acinipo Ruined Roman City

It is hard to believe that Ronda was once a major centre in the Iberian provinces of the Roman Empire, however a quick look at the history books will find references to Acinipo and the terrible battles that occurred at Monda during a civil war between Julius Caesar and the sons of Pompey.

Acinipo the city was most likely founded by native Iberians several thousand years ago, and archeological evidence at the site shows a bronze age settlement existed here between 1100BC and 750BC, and a Carthiginian town may well have been established after this period, before the fall of Carthage in the Punic wars.

However the most obvious history of Acinipo relates to the Roman era, starting from 202BC until the fall of the city nearly 700 years later. At its height, Acinipo was home to 5,000 Romans, with many more believed to inhabit the countryside and the castle of Arunda (modern day Ronda).

The district at one point in the first century AD was so important that Acinipo minted its own coins for a brief few years (56-53BC), and led to the construction of the ampitheatre capable of seating 2,000 people. In fact, after Caesar’s civil war many parcels of land were given to veterans in his legions who settled with their wives and children, became tradespeople, or grew grapes for making into wine. The name Acinipo means “amongst the vineyards”.

Situated at 999 metres above sea level with commanding views over the area, Acinipo was never threatened by barbarians, in fact the Iberian population of the time was completely Roman in almost every way, and life was more or less safe and prosperous. Acinipo was a complete city, with public buildings, the ampitheatre, Roman baths, temples; everything a Roman citizen could need.

During the time of Acinipo’s dominance over the area we know that Roman settlements also existed at Grazalema, Setenil de las Bodegas, Olvera, Antequera, Juzcar, and of course Arunda, where a castle and military fortress was built to keep the army out of the major civilian towns.

Sadly the fortunes of Acinipo were strongly tied to the fate of the Roman Empire, and as barbarians threatened Rome from the north many of her citizens moved to military settlements for protection. As a consequence Arunda slowly became the bigger town, and Acinipo declined. By the time Rome fell in 495AD, Acinipo was all but abandoned, and soon fell into disrepair.

Acinipo offers a fascinating look into how Roman towns were planned out on the frontiers of the Empire around the time of the Punic wars, and is worth a visit along with Setenil de las Bodegas, the village built into the caves.

Directions: Take the road to Sevilla (A-376), and after 7km turn right into MA-7402 Acinipo and Ronda la Vieja.

Lesen sie mehr über Acinipo

Cycle the Mountain Roads of the Serrania de Ronda

Cycling from Ronda and around the Serrania

The Ronda area is a cyclists delight and challenge, with spectacular views, and treachorous hill climbs as well. In fact the Serrania is a popular training destination for cyclists preparing for long distance road races and triathlons.

For holiday makers we have a choice of route length, from 30km to 130km, some of them relatively easy to complete, and others aimed at professional cyclists who know their capabilities.

Reardless of the route you choose however, you’re absolutely certain to enjoy the views. The Serrania is amazingly diverse within a small area, we have river basins and valleys, rocky mountains, and long stretches of flat windy roads.

Look up as you ride and you’ll see vultures, eagles, and other birds of prey, or keep looking for mountain goats and deer. Almost every turn in the road presents vistas that will take your breath away.

From Ronda, shorter rides will take you to Arriate on a loop that is only 30km, or if you have the energy, take a longer ride to Setenil and Acinipo. Professional cyclists should attempt the run to Grazalema and then across the mountain top to Zahara de la Sierra, or the breathtaking route to Gaucin, perhaps with a detour to Genalguacil.

CycleRonda recommend the following routes (13-54km) from Ronda on a road bike;
1. Arriate
2. Setenil-Cuevas del Becerro
3. Faraján-Cartajima in the Genal Valley
4. El Burgo through the Sierra de las Nieves
5. Benaoján-Atajate
6. Acinipo-Setenil

For Mountain bike enthsiasts these routes (13-40km) are fun;
1. Pilar de Coca
2. Puente de la Ventilla
3. Parchite & Arriate
4. Genal Valley or the Guardiaro River
5. Lifa and El Burgo

Finally, professional cyclists should ask about longer road routes (30-144km);
1. Setenil-Cuevas del Becerro
2. Faraján-Cartajima
3. El Burgo-Ardales-El Chorro
4. Acinipo-Setenil
5. Zahara-Palomaspas-Grazalema
6. Grazalema-Ubrique-El Colmenar
7. Benaoján-Atajate
8. Atejate-Algatocín-Jimena de la Frontera

Acinipo Roman City

Acinipo Interpretation Centre Delayed

The Construction of an Interpretation Centre at Acinipo has been delayed by the Ministry of Works of the Junta de Andalucia on the grounds that the proposed location sits on underveloped land zoned for comprehensive protection.

In the last year the Ronda Council and the Ministry of Culture have been working together to develop and excavate the ruined Roman city of Acinipo for the enjoyment of visitors and future generations. The most recent delay affects the construction of a museum and cafe/restaurant, shop, audio visual room, and education room for groups such as schools.

Under plans submitted to the Junta for approval the interpretation centre is to be built within the city boundaries, and would incorporate the foundations of a Roman villa under the museum so that this could be glassed over as a permanent exhibit. The delay is caused by concerns that the building’s construction would unnecessarily endanger archeological heritage.

The group Ecologists in Action have called for the interpretation centre to be constructed on farmland outside the Acinipo boundaries, and have welcomed the decision of the Junta to have Acinipo registered in the general catalog of historical heritage. Acinipo is widely considered to be amongst the best preserved Roman archeological sites in Spain, primarily due to it being covered over for hundreds of years.

Whilst most of the structures are these days only foundations, it is possible to map the streets and most buildings, and the partnership between Ronda’s archeologists working from the Palacio Mondragon and the Ministry of Culture have unearthed and are now preserving the Roman baths. The interpretation centre is seen as an essential part of promoting and protecting Acinipo’s heritage.

Acinipo Vandal Arrested

A man was yesterday arrested at 22:00 by the Guardia Civil SEPRONA division whilst attempting to vandalize the historic Acinipo ruined Roman city.

Readers of Ronda Today will recall our story about vandals digging several hundred holes and making off with buried precious artifacts from the site. Since we reported that story the Guardia Civil have mounted regular night time patrols.

The accused is a man from Sevilla province who was taken to Ronda and held under questioning pending a court arraignment today. He was caught red handed carrying a metal detector and had already extracted several Roman coins when the Guardia Civil decided to apprehend him.

Ronda Today has been at the forefront of this battle, and has connected a supplier of remote video cameras with the ministry responsible for historic sites. We hope the apprehension of this scoundrel puts an end to illegal excavations at Acinipo.

Roman City Acinipo

Looters Target Acinipo Roman Ruins

Acinipo is one of the most precious historical sites in the Serranía de Ronda, a fact not lost on thieves who have been using sophisticated metal detectors to discover coins and fragments of other metal objects.

Over 400 holes have been dug, described by the Friends of Acinipo Association as blatant vandalism and theft of public property. The thieves have cut numerous holes in the fence surrounding Acinipo of the last month and a half, causing thousands of Euros damage to the enclosures.

With shovels and hoes, the thieves are digging holes wherever they detect metal, with complete disregard for stone foundations they encounter. This type of brazen vandalism is impossible assess how much damage is being caused since Acinipo is a working archeological dig with much yet to be discovered about the city.

Manual Garcia, Provincial Delegate for Culture yesterday met with senior representatives of the various local police agencies to demand increased night time patrols of the area, and the apprehension of those responsible.

Aside from damage to the fences, it’s estimated several hundred coins and other relics would have been stolen, with a conservative value in the tens of thousands of Euros not including the value to Ronda of their cultural loss.

Acinipo is a ruined Roman city located at around 15 minutes north of Ronda, and from the 1st century BC to the end of the 5th century AD was one of Roman Iberia’s most important cities. By Imperial decree, Acinipo was entitled to mint it’s own coins, thousands of which are believed to still be buried under the ruins.

Maribel Morales, Charlotte Wilmot, and Remedios Ruiz

Ronda tourism gets accessibility, and a film festival

Ronda was recently represented at an international travel exposition, la Feria Internacional de Turismo (Fitur) in Madrid by the mayor Antonio Marín Lara and councillor for tourism Maribel Morales along with Alfredo Carrasco of CIT, and a small group of officials from the office of tourism and local business people.

Invited to participate by the Costa del Sol Tourism Board, Ronda representated the entire Serranía, including local villages such as Benaojan, Gaucín, Setenil, Grazalema, and displayed information about the three natural parks surrounding the Serranía.

The Serranía de Ronda is often under-represented within the travel industry, and is considered by many travel operators to be an inland Costa del Sol daytrip, a mindset the official tourism offices in Ronda are keen to dispel.

Major projects announced at this years Fitur were the accessibility of Ronda program, and further strengthening of the twinning relationship with the city of Cuenca in Castilla-La Mancha.

Over the next few months significants parts of the main tourist walk in Ronda, including streets in the old town, will be upgraded to make it convenient for people with limited mobility to enjoy the sites of Ronda. Unfortunately the cost and difficulty of making monuments such as the Mondragon Palace accessible isn’t possible.

However Ronda Today has learned the Arab Baths will soon be accessible to people in wheelchairs, a major step forward (pardon the pun) given the significance of Ronda’s Arab Baths in Western Europe. As well, the historically important Acinipo ruined city will soon also be more accessible to people of limited mobility.

Ronda’s twinning with Cuenca is to receive a major boost under an EU program. 300,000€ of European money has been allocated to encourage closer working between Ronda and Cuenca which both share a similar topology with an older city, gorge, and hanging houses.

Expertise in attracting tourists to Ronda will be studied by officials from Cuenca, a program Ronda tourism hopes they will be able to export to other cities.

At Fitur, Ronda’s mayor Marín Lara also announced the creation of a new film festival, the political film festival of Ronda, to be held annually in the city and will be a grade two festival, equivalent to the Berlin Film Festival.

This marks a significant development in the media industry in Ronda, which is also home to the Business Media School. Ronda’s political film festival in 2010 is scheduled to run from 27th November to 4th December, and has the financial backing of the Ministry of Culture in Madrid.

Cave Painting at Pileta

Pre-History in Ronda

As far back as pre-Roman times Ronda has occupied an important role in this part of Southern Spain because of it’s high cliffs, deep gorge, and easily defensible position on a main trade route. Located on one of the main routes inland from southern coastal ports, Ronda and it’s older but now ruined sister city Acinipo, have together been occupied since at least 1,100BC.

Paleolithic and Neolithic people roamed the hills around Ronda leaving many fascinating reminders of their presence, including cave paintings at Cueva de la Pileta, dolmen burial sites near Montecorto, and in the Grazalema Natural Park, and numerous sites where archeologists have discovered stone age pottery and other relics.

Cueva de la Pileta is open to the public and your guide will show you all the important cave art in an easy walk through the cave that takes about two hours. It’s fascinating to think that the very land we live on in the 21st century was also inhabited in historical times ancient humans and maybe even Neanderthal tribes.

It is tempting to imagine life for the cave dwellers who called Ronda home all those thousands of years ago, picture a small tribe of maybe 20 or 30 individuals hunting deer, or wild boar, and sitting around a campfire in the valleys below Ronda, with skins drying in the summer heat with a knowledge that they would be needed when the autumn rains appear, and more so, in the bitter cold of winter.

The descendants of these cave dwellers are believed to be Tartessian, or at the very least closely related to Tartessians, an indigenous people to Southern Portugal and Western Andalucia. It is commonly thought that the Tartessians were Celtic, but linguistic evidence suggests the Tartessian language was unrelated to any of the other languages of Iberia. It is possible the Tartessian people were the same builders of the dolmen burial chambers seen scattered around the mountains of the Serrania.

Around 1,100 BC the Phoenicians, later known as Carthiginians settled in Iberia and founded Cádiz, as well as numerous other villages, including Acinipo, whilst Greek merchants arriving much later established a trading post in Ronda.

Acinipo is a Roman corruption of the Phoenician name of the town which translated means “Land of Wine”, whereas Ronda, which was settled by Greek merchants, was known to the Greeks as Runda, and roughly translated means “surrounded by mountains”.

The Tartessians, Phoenicians, and Greeks are believed to have lived in relative harmony for hundreds of years, and in fact Tartessian culture is known to have directly benefited from it’s close association with both in the development of their own writing system from the 7th century BC.

Strabo, a Greek historian who lived from 64 BC to 24 AD wrote that most of the indigenous peoples of Spain claimed to have written histories going back as far as 6,000 years which ties in nicely with the neolithic evidence found in these parts.

By the 6th century BC Celtic peoples from the north had arrived and taken control of the area and mixed with the Tartessian descendants, the Turdetani. Collectively the area controlled by the new Celtic peoples became known as Beturia, which stretched from the Rio Guadiana to the Guadalquivir River.

Pliny the Elder in his “Third Book Of The History Of Nature” describes the towns of Acinippo and Arunda as being within the region of Beturia, and specifically the part controlled by Celtici whilst the other part, further to the west and north were still controlled by the Turduli.

Evidence suggests when the Celts first arrived in Iberia and started to settle that vast parts of the countryside emptied in their wake, and current thinking suggests the Turdetani simply abandoned the areas around Ronda and Acinipo either before the Celts arrived, or around the same time.