Tag Archives: Puente Nuevo

puente-nuevo

Puente Nuevo Phone Backgrounds

Here’s a special treat for readers of Ronda Today, our favourite photo of the Puente Nuevo, Ronda’s iconic bridge, resized to fit the screen of a Nokia or Apple smartphone.

There are two versions of the photo, a Nokia version which is 640-360 pixels, perfect for users of the Nokia 5800 phone, and an iPhone photo sized at 480-320 pixels.

To download, simply right click on the image you want to save it. Thanks for being a reader of Ronda Today!

Puente Nuevo for Nokia Phones

Puente Nuevo for iPhone

Proposed Youth Hostel and 3 Star Hotel

Embarrassment for Town Council Regarding Illegal Works in the Tajo

The Ayuntamiento of Ronda has unwittingly started construction on a youth hostel and 3 star hotel in old mill buildings close to the Guadelevin river below the Puente Nuevo in buildings not owned by the council, leaving red faces as the rightful owners agree not to seek legal remedies.

Two old mill buildings previously owned by the Sevillana Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Spain’s electrical supply company Endesa, though in 1994 they were donated to the Asociación Promoción y Desarrollo de la Serranía de Ronda who undertook to prevent their use in a way that could harm the landscape of the tajo.

Local employment workshops (Taller de Empleo) have renovated the two buildings over several years, including new roofs, structural repairs, and internal construction that would allow one of the buildings to be used as a dormitory type building for youths, whilst the other would be converted into a 3 star hotel.

The works are not yet complete, some estimates say around 75% of construction is complete, however the set aside legal action does not automatically entitle the town hall to resume renovations until an agreement can be reached with the association.

Both buildings were formally in a state of ruin, so renovations and conversion to accommodation are not considered disadvantages, however ownership of the buildings and surrounding land, and the revenue to be generated from them will now be the responsibility of the association. Officers of the association were today unavailable for comment.

costadelsol-daytrip-ronda

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.

Ronda makes a perfect weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of the Costa del Sol, in fact Rondeños have a word that describes their lifestyle, tranquila, very peaceful. It certainly describes Ronda well. Here’s a list of monuments you can see if you have 3-4 hours to wander around Ronda.

The Bullring (Plaza de Toros)
Often referred to as Spain’s largest and oldest bullring, it’s real significance is it’s beauty as an architectural wonder, and as the bullring where Pedro Romero, the father of modern bullfighting perfected his art. The museum of bullfighting is located under the seating in the rear of the building.

Ronda’s Plaza de Toros is owned by the Real Maestranza de Caballero de Ronda, and is an exceptional building that is open to the public. It contains 136 tuscan columns that hold the stands, and the entire plaza is built from rock quarried locally.

Yes, if you really want to, you can pretend to be a bull and run around the rueda, nobody will laugh, we’ve all done it.

The Puente Nuevo
Universally recognizable, the Puente Nuevo is one of Spain’s most photographed monuments and stands 98 metres above the tajo gorge. It’s a truly impressive site, all the more so because the rocks used to build the bridge were quarried from below on the river bed, and then hoisted into position using an innovative system of pulleys.

The bridge featured in Ernest Hemingway’s award winning novel “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, though we’ll leave it to your imagination to decide if his story was true.

Mondragon Palace
Originally built when Ronda was an independent kingdom, the Mondragon Palace isn’t much to look at from outside, but inside contains the Municipal Museum of Ronda and some beautiful original courtyards and terraces.

It was from here that the Catholic Kings accepted the surrender of the last Muslim governor of Ronda in 1485, but since then the palace has reverted to more peaceful uses, in fact being a popular wedding venue for Rondeños and visitors alike.

Moorish King’s House and Gardens
Back in the early 20th century before war descended on Spain the Duquesa de Parcent owned several houses in the Moorish Quarter, the largest of them being her own residence which became known as the Casa del Rey Moro, the Moorish King’s House, owing to the impressive dungeon and fortress carved into the living rock beneath the palace.

Legend has it that during the Moorish era Christian slaves would be chained to the steps and made to pass jugs of water from the river to the city water tanks above. During the Duquesa’s ownership of the palace the terraced gardens were redesigned by Forestier in the style of French aristocratic gardens of the era.

Arab Baths
Back in Moorish times, public baths were a very popular social setting, and also a mandatory stop for visitors to Ronda who were required to cleanse themselves physically and spiritually in the adjacent Mosque before being allowed to enter the city proper.

The Arab Baths in Ronda have undergone extensive renovations in recent times, including restoration of the gardens and making the baths accessible to mobility challenged people.

Getting to Ronda

Bullring Ronda

Bullring Ronda

Coming to Ronda is easy, there are buses from Málaga several times per day, as well as buses from Torremolinos that pass through Marbella on their way to Ronda. Train services are also quite frequent from Málaga. Of course most people drive to Ronda, either using the San Pedro to Ronda road, or taking the road from Málaga to Coín and then following the signs to Campillos but turning off well before on the road to Ronda.

Arriving in Ronda can be confusing, the city has a ring road that is far out of town, but following the signs for the ‘Centro Cuidad’ on both roads will bring you to a large roundabout with a train line running over it. At this roundabout you’ll enter Ronda on the main dual carriageway through the city known as Avenida de Málaga, and the very end of which you’ll find the huge underground carpark “Parking Martinez Astein”.

From the carpark, exit at Avde de Málaga, and you’ll find yourself standing at the top end of a long pedestrianised street, this is Carrera Espinel, loving known locally as La Bola. Walk to the very end of this street (around 800m) and you’ll be standing directly opposite Ronda’s famous bullring, the Plaza de Toros.

hotel-ronda

Hotel Ronda in Ronda’s Moorish Quarter *

Finding a hotel in Ronda is easy, there are so many to choose from, but not all hotels are created equal. Hotel Ronda located next to the Casa del Rey Moro (The Moorish King’s House) is one of these delightful little hotels most people only hear about after their holiday in Ronda.

Quite simply, most hotel booking and review websites or travel guides mention the biggest hotels, or best advertisers and it can be very difficult to find the smaller hotels that you should probably stay at, or would if a friend recommended it. Hotel Ronda is one of these small boutique hotels that really deserves a mention.

Nieves, the lady who owns the hotel is also the person who does everything, she’s the lady who greets you on arrival, in fact Nieves is proud that her little hotel is so cosy. Guests who stay here agree and happily ask to sign her guest book.

With just five rooms, you can be sure Hotel Ronda isn’t going to be crowded, and each room is spacious with reverse cycle air conditioning, a television, decent sized bathroom with modern shower, and every room includes a wardrobe.

Located in the heart of Ronda’s casco antigua (the old quarter) the hotel is centrally located for all of Ronda’s main tourist highlights. The Arab Baths, Puente Nuevo, Moorish King’s House, Salvatierra Palace, and San Sebastian Minaret are all less than 100 metres from Hotel Ronda. Ronda’s famous bullring is only 250 metres from Hotel Ronda.

Many of the best Ronda restaurants are also very close by, and being in the old Moorish quarter of Ronda, it’s a quicker walk to restaurants such as El Predicatorio, Almocabar, Duquesa de Parcent, La Pilastra, or Alminar than being in the new part of Ronda. In addition, the hotel and the street it’s in are charming examples what people expect to see in an Andalusian pueblo.

Nieves also proudly states that Hotel Ronda is gay friendly, has free Internet, and is convenient for Ronda cycling, you can even bring your bicycle into your room. In fact Hotel Ronda was chosen by Bjorn Heidenstrom when he recently visited Ronda on his cycling trip from Norway to Cape Town because he was able to bring his bike and trailer into his room for safe keeping. Read our coverage of Bjorn Heidenstrom in Ronda to learn more.

Hotel Ronda Contact Details

Contact Nieves
Telephone (+34) 952 872 232
Fax (+34) 952 877 618
Address C/ Ruedo Doña Elvira, 12
Ronda 29400
Email reservas@hotelronda.net
Website www.hotelronda.net
Languages Spoken Español, Some English
Hotel Facilities

5 Rooms Disabled Access High Speed Internet Television
Air Conditioning Central Heating Hair Dryer Telephone

Hotel Ronda Photos

history-puente-nuevo-ronda

History of the Puente Nuevo

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.

It wasn’t until Ronda’s golden years of the 1700s that permission was finally granted to span the rio Guadalevin with a new bridge that would be able to carry more traffic and be a more direct route between El Mercadillo and La Ciudad than the older and more circuitous road through Padre Jesus. In 1734 the first attempt to span the gorge at this height was completed by the architects Jose Garcia and Juan Camacho using a single arch design.

Their bridge was hastily built and insufficiently strong enough to withstand the stresses of carrying traffic, and in 1741 the entire bridge collapsed taking 50 souls to their deaths in the gorge below.

The current bridge stands 98m from base to top and was built from 1759 to 1793, a total of 34 years, and spans 66m from side to side. The original design was drawn by Domingo Lois de Monteagudo, an architect of great renown, and it is believed the bottom third of the bridge was built under his direction although by 1778 he was no longer involved with the project.

By 1785 work on the bridge had stalled and the administrator of Ronda, Pascual Ruiz, called on the expertise of one of Andalucia’s top architects, José Martin de Aldehuela to complete the bridge. His remarkable design built on Lois de Monteagudo’s foundation, turning the bridge into a work of art which has since become Spain’s most photographed bridge, and one of her most photographed icons.

Rumour suggests Martin de Aldehuela committed suicide from this very bridge, although in fact he lived a long and happy life dying many years later in Malaga in 1802. The rumour came about after suggestions in his day that a second, and perhaps more beautiful bridge, would be needed, and that he jumped from the bridge in despair.

Despite being an architect of great renown in Malaga, the Puente Nuevo in Ronda even in those days was considered Martin de Aldehuela’s crowning career achievement. Fortunately the rumour was just that, and to date a second bridge hasn’t been needed, so it is safe to say the architect’s legacy is assured.

The job of actually constructing the bridge from the architect’s plans fell to a Rondeño, Antonio Diáz Machuca who invented to system of pulleys and other heavy lifting equipment that hoisted the large stones from the gorge floor where they had been quarried and shaped, up to where they were needed on the bridge.

Constructed in three stages, the first stage forms the foundation against the bedrock and the first arch, which in turn forms the foundation for the main arch that takes the bridge to a height of 90m. The final stage includes the two top arches and the centre room of about 60 square metres that today contains the interpretation museum of the bridge, although it’s most famous use was as prison for bandits and dangerous criminals during the 19th century, and then for political prisoners during the Spanish civil war.

A gruesome rumour persists to this day that civil war era prisoners were thrown to their deaths from the bridge, and written about by Ernest Hemingway in the novel For Whom The Bell Tolls, it’s a great story embellished by a great writer, maybe it’s true, maybe not, I’ll let you decide!

Tajo!
The standing joke in Ronda for anyone who has to go to work when they’d rather stay at the bar with their mates is the shout ‘Tajo!’, a reminder of Moorish times when Christian slaves and prisoners would spend their lives chained to the steps that lead to the river; their job under pain of a good thrashing was to pass empty buckets down and full buckets up so that Ronda’s water tower was always full.

Puente Nuevo

Puente Nuevo and El Tajo Gorge

Puente Nuevo seen from the Valley
Ronda is one of the few cities in the world to have a deep gorge running through the heart of the city, and is luckier still to have the Puente Nuevo (new bridge in Spanish) spanning it. The gorge also served as the most formidable defence Ronda’s enemies have ever tried to attack. Known as El Tajo, the gorge was created by constant erosion of the rio Guadalevín which is fed by mountain streams and melting snow high in the mountains of the Sierra de las Nieves.

The gorge is quite narrow only 68m at it’s widest, but in places very deep, up to 120 metres, adding to the wonder that makes the gorge and it’s tallest bridge, the Puente Nuevo, one of Spain’s most photographed locations. The rio Guadalevín exits El Tajo into the valley below where it was used by a number of flour mills to drive their grinders but all activity ceased in 1917 after a rock slide destroyed the mills.

Most visitors will start their wandering around Ronda on the north side of the gorge, this is the side with the Parador Hotel, the tourist office, the bullring, and where Ronda’s commercial centre is located. The south side is La Ciudad, which forms the heart of Moorish Ronda.

One of the more interesting human built sights along the gorge is the water mine, a tunnel carved into the rock and which descends 60m with 231 steps down to the water. It’s an impressive feat of engineering and can be seen by visiting the Moorish King’s House (Casa del Rey Moro) for a tour of the garden and the mine.

Puente Nuevo in Ronda (the new bridge)

The Puente Nuevo spans the El Tajo gorge at the highest point, and is a must see destination on any tour of Ronda. The north side of the Puente Nuevo is Plaza de España, which is where the Parador hotel, and the Andalucía Tourism Board office is located. The south side is where you’ll find the Santo Domingo convent and across the street from it, the Casa de los Arcos.

The road surface is cobbled, and wide enough for traffic to pass in both directions, but watch out for the sharp angle as you exit the bridge into La Ciudad, many a hapless driver has wondered if they hit a tourist when actually they only bounced over the corner of the curb.

Pedestrians are able to walk along both sides of the bridge, and there are several seating positions built into the protective barrier, although they are very rarely used for sitting, most tourists see them as a handy step for taking photographs, and why not, after all, the views on a sunny day are spectacular, just be sure not to lean out too far, it is a long drop to the bottom.

Ronda's Puente Nuevo at Night
Photographing the Puente Nuevo can be a challenge although there are several publicly accessible locations that offer good vistas. Closest to Plaza de España, walk around the gorge side of the Parador hotel, or from the south side of the bridge, onto the viewing platform next to Santo Domingo.

For a wider view of the entire bridge, the Cuenca gardens on the eastern side are a perfect location in the mornings, whilst in the afternoons, the viewing platform in the garden of the House of Don Bosco (1.50€) gives a very pleasing photo. It is also possible to descend into the gorge from Plaza Maria Auxiliadora and take a photo of the bridge at the old gate of Albacara.

Hotels with views of the Puente Nuevo include the Parador Hotel, Hotel Montelirio, and the Hotel Don Miguel

New Bridge seen from Parador Hotel

Puente Nuevo, Ronda

Puente Nuevo Interpretation Museum

The Puente Nuevo is one of Ronda’s most famous landmarks, in fact the bridge is one of the most photographed manmade structures in Spain. The interpretation museum is inside the bridge, in the large room under the road. At verious times this has been a prison, a hotel, and a bar.

Descending the outside steps visitors find themselves standing on a wide ledge overlooking the gorge, and giving a great view of the arches of the bridge up close. You can also take a photo through the arch to the mountains.

Then enter the bridge and climb a short staircase into the central room, which contains a detailed history of the bridge, why it was needed, how long it took to build, and how it was built. From here it is also possible to look through the doors of the room to the valley below.

To get into the interpretation museum of the Puente Nuevo simply descend the steps on the north side closest to Ronda’s Parador Hotel. You’ll need to pay 2€ per person but the view of the gorge below and the photo opportunity of the hills in the distance taken through the arch of the bridge is well worth it.

Puente Nuevo Interpretation Centre Opening Times
Autumn and Winter
Monday to Friday 10am till 6pm (10:00-18:00)
Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays 10am till 3pm (10:00-15:00)

Spring and Summer
Monday to Friday 10am till 7pm (10:00-19:00)
Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays 10am till 3pm (10:00-15:00)

GPS Location
Latitude: 36.740724 (36° 44′ 26.61” N)
Longitude: -5.165940 (5° 9′ 57.38” W)

Price of Entry
2€ per individual
1€ if part of group larger than 10, or children