Ancient Ronda is a colourful tapestry woven from a skein of tangled threads which make it one of the most interesting cities in all Andalusia. The landscape, the layout of the town, its history, the romantic legend of its bandits with their evocative names, the cradle of bullfighters and artists whose names have gone down in history: all this makes Ronda a unique city.
The list of outstanding men of letters who have fallen captive to the charms of this city can be traced from the earliest texts down to the present day. Pliny, al-Motámid the poet-king of Seville, al-Idrisi, Ibn al-Jatib, Vicente Espinel, Rilke, Juan Ramón Jiménez and Juan Goytisolo are just a few of the long line of authors who have written eloquent pages about Ronda; a place where –if the locals are to believed– it rains upwards, and where birds fly beneath your feet as you lean out over the Tajo gorge.
The city inveigles you to take a leisurely stroll through its streets, absorbing every detail of this ancient Arab “medina” on the south bank of the Guadalevín river, whose walls are still partially standing. You can cross the Puente Nuevo (“new bridge”) and wander around the Alameda del Tajo, stopping at every odd corner and historic monument, and then restore your strength in one of the restaurants offering an abundant selection of dishes from the local cuisine.
The town itself is divided into three clearly distinct areas: the city, or old Arab Medina, which is the most important from the historical point of view; the neighbourhood of San Francisco, separated by city walls, and the Mercadillo neighbourhood, which is on the other side of the Guadalevín river.