Tag Archives: Arab Baths

Arab baths in Ronda

Ronda’s Arab Baths

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.

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Ronda, the city of dreams

Costa del Sol Day Trips to Ronda

Spain, and in particular the Costa del Sol, is one of Europe’s most popular holiday destinations, and from Marbella, Puerto Banus, Benalmadena, Torremolinos, Mijas Costa, Fuengirola, San Pedro, Málaga or Estepona Ronda is only a short drive, between 45 minutes and 1hr 15minutes away, and is rated one of THE must-see destinations in Spain.

Aside from the small and compact size of the city of Ronda, everywhere can be reached on foot in less than 30 minutes walking, Ronda has also been home to people spanning 30,000-40,000 years, most of whom have left their mark in the form of nearby cave paintings, bronze age burial chambers, a ruined Roman city, and the Moorish quarter.

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Things To Do in Ronda During Your Stay

Ronda is one of the oldest towns in Europe, people have lived in the district for more than 30,000 years, and Ronda has been occupied for 9,000 years.

If you’re planning to visit Ronda here are the top things to do to help you enjoy your holiday. Ronda is a small city, and almost everything is within 500m of the Puento Nuevo bridge. Tourist office maps are printed in Spanish, English, German, French, Dutch, and Italian.

1. The Bullring (Plaza de Toros), considered to be the most historically important bullring in Spain, and home to the Ronda style with a matador on foot instead of horseback. The building can only seat 5000 people but has the largest central sand surface, known as the rueda, in the world. The structure is entirely built from locally quarried stone, then plastered and whitewashed. Read more.

2. The New Bridge (Puente Nuevo), the largest of Ronda’s several bridges that cross the impressive Tajo gorge that separates the city in two. The bridge is 98 meters tall with a tall central arch, and a room under the road that has been a hotel, a bar, a prison, and is now a small museum. Read more.

3. The Arab Baths are considered the most complete in Spain even though they are ruins, and offer a tantalizing glimpse into medievel Islamic times. Visitors are able to see the pump tower on which a donkey turned a crank that fed cold water to the baths. The water was heated and distributed in three rooms, a hot room for sweating out impurities, a warm room for massages and soaking, and a cold room to cool down. Read more.

4. The Mondragon Palace is a 13th century palace that archeologists believe was the home of Ronda’s Islamic King Abomelik when Ronda was the capital city of a large kingdom in Al-Andalus. The palace is home to the city museum with displays from the paleolithic, neolithic, Roman, Moorish, and Christian eras. Read more.

5. The medieval walls, with numerous gates and Islamic arches, high defensive towers and long stretches of impregnable stone wall that surround the old city and would take at least an hour to walk around. The most impressive sections are located at Almocabar in the Barrio San Francisco, Calle Goleta, and near the ruined flour mills in the Tajo gorge. Read more.

6. The Water Mine, a dark and scary escent to the Islamic era fortress carved into the gorge below the Casa del Rey Moro. Known as the Water Mine because for hundreds of years it operated as the only source of water into the city, with slaves chained to the steps to pass water bags upwards. Read more.

7. Visit the Santa Maria la Mayor church to see Ronda’s largest church, and also home to many of the Easter floats used in processions during Holy Week. The church was built on the foundations of an Islamic mosque, part of which is still visible in a small alcove as you enter. Read more.

8. Walk to the bottom of the gorge, though not for the faint hearted because this is a steep descent, but completely worth it to get that perfect photo of the bridge. Follow Calle Tenorio to the end and after the plaza take the walking track to the old Arab gate. If you wish, you can go through the gate and walk down and then under the Puente Nuevo.

9. Enjoy local tapas at one of the many outdoor bars in Ronda, with popular places being Plaza Socorro, Calle Nuevo, the Plaza in front of the Almocabar Gate, or Plaza Duquesa de Parcent.

10. Stroll through the old town at sunset as the tourists leave and Rondeños reclaim their city. This is the time when the real Ronda comes alive, with children playing in the plazas, families preparing their evening meal, and the sites and smells change completely.

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Ronda’s Main Attractions to Remain Open at Night

For the rest of September and all of October 2010, but possibly to be extended through the winter months, some of Ronda’s main attractions such as the Arab Baths, the Giant’s House, and the Mondragon Palace will remain open from 9pm until midnight to encourage visitors to the city to stay for a night or an extra night knowing that they can relax and not rush to see everything.

Entitled “Noches de embrujo nazarí en Ronda”, which can be loosely translated as An Evening of Moorish Enchantment, the focus will be on promoting the Nazari period when Andalusian architecture and art had reached it’s true golden age in the 13th and 14th centuries. The Arab Baths are considered Spain’s most complete Nazari public bath house, whilst the garden of the Mondragon Palace, and the patio of the Casa del Gigante (Giant’s House) are amongst the best examples of courtyard design known in Andalucia.

The event is being coordinated with the support of several local hotels and restaurants whose guests will be offered free entry to the monuments. Participants include the Parador Hotel, Montelirio, Maestranza, Don Miguel, Acinipo and EnfrenteArte, and the well known restaurants del Escudero and Jerez.

Speaking to Ronda Today, the director of the Parador Hotel Gonzalo Fernandez described this initiative as hugely important since overnight stays in Ronda have been falling, primarily due to visitors perception that Ronda is closed for business after 8pm. Significantly, the six hotels and two restaurants will foot the bill for the extra staff required to keep the three most important municipal attractions open during these extra three hours.

In addition to late night openings, the councillor for Tourism Francisco Cañestro is also planning to announce more art exhibitions on a world class level for Ronda. At present the Peinado Museum is hosting a collection of Picasso sketches owned by the Unicaja bank. November also see the inaugural year of the new International Political Film Festival which is expected to draw thousands of visitors to the city during a traditionally quiet season.

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Ronda’s Arab Baths Now Accessible for People with Disabilities

Francisco Cañestro Opens the Arab Baths

Yesterday the Councillor for Tourism Francisco Cañestro, and the Junta de Andalucía’s Minister of Tourism, Commerce and Sport, Luciano Alonso Alonso officially reopened the Arab Baths in Ronda after extensive renovations allowing wheelchair access for one of Andalucía’s most important Moorish monuments.

The Arab Baths in Ronda are considered the most complete baths and in original state, but have been all but impossible to enjoy by people with disabilities, in addition the gardens and water wheel have been inaccessible to all visitors for many years.

Recent accessibility renovations have opened a new entrance to the Baths nearer to the Puente Arabe which will be opened on demand for tour groups and people with disabilities, though access to the gardens and water wheel is also now provided from a side entrance to the Baths that was previously locked.

Taking their que from the ruins at Acinipo, the gardens have pieces of ruined achitecture such as columns, drains, and lintels scattered around, whilst bark has been spread to give the gardens a zen-like appearance. Gently sloping paths have been created, the intention being to create a small oasis from which to admire the medieval walls of the city.

Visitors to the Arab Baths will now be able to appreciate the engineering triumphs of Moorish Rondeños who created the water wheel and aqueduct to feed the baths with water from the rio Guadalevin and the Arroyo de las Culebras. Whilst the chain mechanism is long gone, the tower remains in excellent condition.

The re-opening ceremony was also attended by the mayor of Ronda Antonio Marín Lara, several councillors, and the leader of the municipal opposition María Paz Fernandez.