A short distance from the beaches of the Costa del Sol is one of the most spectacular places in Spain. The inland town of Ronda is an ideal place for the property investor who wishes to get away from the crowded coast.
The ancient, fortified, mountain top town of Ronda is situated at 750m in the Serrania de Ronda. It is a wonderful aristocratic town that has been described as having equal amounts of art, history and beauty.
The best know attraction is the El Tajo or The Gorge, which is 120m deep, and separates the old part of the town from the new. Three bridges, the most famous of which is the Puente Nuevo or New Bridge, span the gorge. Despite its name, the Puente Nuevo was built between 1755 and 1793. Many people have died as a result of falling or being thrown from the bridge into the gorge below. The first recorded death was that of the architect who fell whilst inspecting part of the building works.
The area surrounding Ronda was notorious bandit country and it is said that many of the bandits’ enemies were thrown from the bridge. Certainly at the time of the civil war, hundreds of victims from both sides of the conflict were hurled to their death.
On either side of the gorge, houses and hotels cling to the cliffs and look as if the slightest push would plunge them into its depths.
The old part of the town retains its Moorish influence, with narrow, rough streets and a number of interesting places to see, including:
The new part of the town is known as the Mercadillo (Market) as it was where traders, who were not allowed inside the city walls, set up their market stalls. The most notable building in this part of the town is the bullring which is believed to be the oldest in Spain.
The Plaza de Toros is open to the public and contains a museum of bullfighting. Bullfighting in Ronda only takes place once or twice a year. There is a festival devoted to Pedro Romero, one of the greatest bullfighters of all time who, in his career killed 5,600 bulls at Ronda. The bullring is now owned by another famous bullfighter, Antonio Ordoñez, on whose nearby ranch the ashes of Orson Welles were scattered.
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