Carved in the cliffs of the ‘El Tajo’ gorge is a surprising mine and fortress that dates back to the Moorish era when constant wars in Al-Andalus required the city governors to protect water supplies to the people and defenders. Ronda’s Water Mine under the Casa del Rey Moro was built during the reign of Ronda’s King Abomelic at the beginning of the 14th century, when Ronda was an independent Islamic kingdom on the frontline between the Christian north, and the newly developing Islamic Nazari Kingdom in Granada. To reach the water mine it is necessary to first enter the gardens of the House of the Moorish King.
One of the few cities in the world to be naturally split into two halves. The city of Ronda has the Puente Nuevo and El Tajo Gorge! 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 river Guadalevín.
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.
(Plaza Socorro in Ronda was remodeled in 2019 with a new fountain and the statue of hercules moved closer to the old Casino on the same Plaza.)
Visitors to Ronda are often very confused as to why our central plaza Socorro features a statue of a semi-naked man with two lions by his side and a couple of pillars behind him. What is their significance?
The answer lies in Andalusian nationalism and one of the most important events in recent Andalusian political history, the Assembly of Ronda in 1918 when the father of Andalusian nationalism, Blas Infante, unfurled the flag and symbols of Andalusia whilst standing on the first floor balcony of the ‘Circulo de Artistas’; the building directly behind the fountain with red CA lettering above the windows. Continue reading Andalusia, Plaza del Socorro and Blas Infante
The House of the Giant, otherwise known as the Casa del Gigante in Ronda’s old city is one of the most complete examples of Nasrid architecture outside of Granada and definitely a destination that should be on your list of places to see in Ronda.
Located in a quiet plaza behind the Santa Maria La Mayor church, and directly across from the Museo Peinado, the Casa del Gigante is just 2 minutes walk from the Puente Nuevo and Plaza d’España, and not too far from the Mondragon Palace. A statue of Vincent Espinel is located directly in front of the entrance to the House of the Giant. The palace was already more than 100 years old at the time of the fall of Ronda to Ferdinand’s army in 1485 and apart from some redecorating in the 17th century is still largely complete as a Moorish building. Continue reading Casa del Gigante