Rondas Arab Baths, known in Spanish as “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.
The 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.
Ronda is a historic town with a rich cultural heritage spanning over 30,000 years. This charming city in Andalusia, Spain, is renowned for its picturesque landscapes and scenic views, making it a must-visit destination for any traveler. From exploring the ancient streets of the old town to admiring the iconic Puente Nuevo (New Bridge), Ronda offers a variety of experiences to its visitors. With almost everything located within 500 meters of the bridge, Ronda is a compact city that can be easily explored on foot. To make the most of your trip, here are the top 10 places to visit during your stay in Ronda.
Whilst in ruins now, the Arab Baths are still the best preserved in Spain and offer a tantalising peek into Moorish life during the 13th to 16th centuries. Be sure to watch the animated short presentation (5 minutes) about the history of Ronda’s Arab Baths when you get here. The video presentation describes the water tower as a Noria (the modern Spanish word derived from Arabic), however the water pump in Ronda was a chain pump and is more correctly known even today as a Saqiya.
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.
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.