Ronda Parador History

Ronda Parador History

The facts of the founding of Ronda are lost in the hazy mists of time.  We do know it this mountain-top perch has been inhabited since the Neolithic age.  There are existent wonderful Paleolithic art in the caves of Pileta near the present day village of Benaojan. There are also prehistoric dolmens in the area – most notable the Dolmen de Chopo – so we know humankind has been in the Ronda area for a very long time.

The Celts were there from around the 6th century B.C. The Phoenicians had their period as well, but the Ronda that we know today really dates from the Roman occupation during the Punic Wars. Roman influence, as was the case all over the Iberian Peninsula, was heavy here. They stayed for around 600 years, and three of Rome’s emperors were born in Spain.

Later taken by the Visigoths who held it until 713 A.D. when the Moors took over and began the rebuilding of the city. It was then named Izn-Rand Onda (“city of the castle”), and it was held in Islamic hands until 1485, when it was “re-captured” by the Marquis of Cádiz, and place back under the control of the Christian Monarchs.

The on-going popularity of Ronda through the centuries was due almost solely to its unique location. Known as the “Eagle’s Nest” – it sits on one of the most easily defended heights in all of Spain. The awe inspiring El Tajo gorge surrounds and the general roughness of the mountainous terrain served Ronda’s occupiers well over the centuries.

 

Right up into the 20th century the infamous “bandoleros” of the area used the rugged terrain of gorges, caves and all but inaccessible mountain passes to hide from their pursuers.  Some of those men, like “El Tempranillo, and “Pasos Largos,” were Robin Hood like figures who became legends in their own time, and are still today part of the colorful history of Ronda and the surrounding mountain villages.

These men would ride out of nowhere to way-lay travelers in the area – usually only extracting money from the wealthy, and thereby remaining in the good graces of the local villagers. Even as late as the early 1950’s busses running through the mountain passes in and out of Ronda were still accompanied by the Guardia Civil for protection.

Another group who has added to the colorful history of Ronda is the torreros – the bullfighters of Ronda. This is the home of “modern” bullfighting in Spain. The Pedro Romero ‘school’ developed here, and the bullring in Ronda is the oldest in Spain.

The history of the Parador Ronda building itself, once the Ayuntamiento (city hall), dates back to the year 1761. Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote here. His famous novel, “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” tells of the atrocities committed here during the Spanish civil war. Nationalist sympathizers were thrown to their deaths from the bridge and cliff right outside the Parador .

 

Ronda is not only at the heart of Andalucia by its physical location, it is also at the heart of, and part and parcel of the rich and fascinating history of the region. And – the Parador Ronda, immediately next to the Puente Nuevo (New Bridge) on the very edge of the 300+ foot drop to the valley below – is also located in the very heart of Ronda. Do not hesitate to make plans to stay here on your next trip to this historically fascinating area.

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