With leaves from the younger stone age
Ronda: Is a city in the province of Malaga in Andalusia. It is located about 100 km from Malaga in a mountainous area about 740 meters above sea level. The population is about 37 000.
History: In the district there are remains from the Neolithic period, 25 000 year old cave paintings of Cro Magon period in Cueva de la Pileta. In 500-BC. Celts was settled, they called the place Arunda. Later fenicer was settled in nearby Acinipo, locally called Ronda la Vieja (Old Ronda). Caesar gave Ronda city status. During the 400-AC. Sveber took the city, in the next century the East Roman Empire ruled the town. Later the city became captivated by the Visgothic king Leovigild. Ronda subsequently enrolled in the Visigothic kingdom until 713, when it fell to the Moors, who called it Izn-Rand Onda (“the city with fortress”). During the years 1039 to 1065 Ronda was the capital of the tiny Kingdom Ronda. From 1065 it was part of Seville’s kingdom. The Moorish power was broken by the Marquis of Cadiz, Ronda captured after a short siege. 1485 the city was captured by Ferdinand and over the following years the city have peace and economic prosperity, resulting in extensive building of baroque buildings in the 1700s. Napoleon’s invasion caused great damage, Ronda’s population declined from 15 600 to 5 000 in three years.
The city is divided by a 120 meter deep canyon (El Tajo), formed by the river Guadalevín. Three bridges lead over the ravine, a Roman built for more than 2000 years ago Puente Romano, a Moorish-called Puente Arabe, and one that they started to build in 1751 and which was completed first in 1793. It’s called Puente Nuevo (New Bridge).
Ronda has inspired writers and artists such as Washington Irving, Prosper Mérimée, Gustave Doré and Ernest Hemingway.
It is exciting to see how the houses on both sides of the ravine are built entirely out to the edge of the vertical cliffs. They are called “casas colgadas” (hanging houses). Ronda, thanks to its impregnable location, looking back on a long and fascinating history.
Puente Nuevo: One of 1700s engineering artistic masterpiece is Rondas most famous landmark, the Puente Nuevo, rising on the mighty pillars of Guadalevíns gorge, creating a bridge between the two districts. The construction is similar with an aqueduct, it has a base construction and three upper arches, from which there is a very nice view of the Tajoravinens bottom. The room above the center arch was formerly a escape proof dungeon, and from there they pushed nationalist sympathizers in death during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) – a tragic event, which Ernest Hemingway portrays in “Whom the Bell Tolls.” According to a legend the architect reached out for his hat when it blow off, he fell into the abyss and died.
La Maestranza: Ronda probably most famous building is the historic La Maestranza bullfighting ring, which is one of the oldest and most charming in Spain. The stadium, built in 1785, is surrounded by rows of arcades in two stories with Tuscan columns and has room for 5000 people. Hemingway had his own loge here. Today the stadium is owned by Ronda Royal Knight’s, whose arms can be seen on the gable above the entrance gate in the Baroque style. Those who want to know more about Spain’s oldest arena can visit the small museum where a lot of bullfighting memories, including costumes, etc. Here you can read about Francisco Romero and his son Juan and grandson Pedro, who were the creators of the legendary bullfighting dynasty, and has based the rules of today’s bullfighting.
Casa del Rey Moro: Called the 1700-century palace that was built on the foundations of a Moorish Taifa-royal palaces. On the back is a staircase that is partly covered by a vault, which is carved in the rock. With its 365 step the stairway leads down to the river and La Mina, a spring in the rock. During the fighting with the Christians, the Christian prisoners have to carry water to the top. The Spanish proverb, “God save me for Ronda jar” derived from that time. Proceeding from the Casa del Rey Moro down at the steep road you come to Arco de Cristo – a Moorish port from the 1300s. If you go further up the stairs you soon stand on the old Moorish bridge, Puente Arabe, where there are many well-preserved horseshoe-shaped arches. From there it’s a beautiful view through the canyon to the Puente Nuevo. At the end of the bridge is an old Moorish bath complex, which dates from the 1200s.
Puerto de Almocabar: From the 1200s constituted the main gate of the city of Ronda. Thrue this the Christian took the town in 1485. This is also the Renaissance city gate Puerta de Carlos and the remnants of the old city walls side by side. On the other side of the gate, the Santa María La Mayor – Ronda Cathedral, built in the late 1400’s.
Winemaking: Winemaking is not news in Ronda. Indeed, it has been found evidence that the vine grapes was produced in the area for already 2000 years ago. However, the area was affected of the phylloxera Filoxera between 1880 and 1892 and most of the vines throughout Andalusia and the rest of Europe got crop failure. Therefore the land in Ronda was used mainly to plant olive trees on, or for hunting. But once again grapes are produced in Ronda. The Winery Doña Felisa Ronda produces wine under the name “Chinchilla.”
The Winery Doña Felisa: The Winery Doña Felisa is located very near the old Roman village Acinipo, 900 meters above sea level. Acinipo is known from Roman period as “wine country” and a lot of wine was shipped to Rome from the port of Malaga. In those days they cultured a grape that is similar to what we today call Tempranillo.
The Winery Chinchilla: The Winery Chinchillais a family business run by the couple Jose Maria and Gema who are leading the daily work. The Wineary is actually both their workplace and home. It’s José María who, since the first vine was planted in the year 2000, has decided how the vines will be planted and what varieties are most suitable for the land. After several years of experimentation, it has become following grape varieties: Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, which are proven to grow best in the area. “Ronda is most suitable for vineyard,” said José María and continues, “and it is very important that our wines reflect the soil from which they come, and that we respect their natural flavors and taste.” Most of the wines are stored in French Allier barrels that are replaced every three years. At present the wine house only produce 100 000 bottles of wine a year, and they all go under the name of Chinchilla.
The Winery Chinchilla is open to visitors. They take groups of minimum 5 persons or more. You can get a guided tour with wine tasting and lunch, they offer different menus in different price ranges.