7.11.2014 29400 Ronda, Málaga, Spain

"I ain't myself a Bandit.But what I am fond of is the history of Ronda.Both Bullfighters and Highwaymen mark the history of Ronda" Said he with pride.

Read all previous posts on Spain here ; travel video on Spain here

It wasn't the first time I was hearing the name "Ronda",Ronda was a place which was also featured in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.If you do not remember,let me remind you,this was the white city which was Salman Habib - Imraan's father's village where he owned an art gallery.

 Ronda is one of the oldest town in Spain.The name Ronda comes from "Arounda" which means surrounded by mountains.  An inspiration to the street artists and the singers,the city of Ronda is an ideal place for lovers of history and art.The city was founded in the Pre-historic times and we can find the monuments from 13-17th century and narrow cobblestone streets from the Old Arabic Period of time.The first human settlement was around 2000 years old.Well renowned civilizations,small group of traders,Romans,Arabs dominated the city of Ronda.

Ronda:The Bandit Museum

As you all already know by now,Ronda is surrounded by mountains.In the past,due to socio-economic circumstances,there were stealers ,murderers and dacoits taking refuge in the mighty mountains.I haven't heard of any place, a museum dedicated to Bandits except this one.There are many stories and history around the highwaymen including comics which tell tales of their romantic journeys.

Well when there are bandits,there is always chase.Created in the year 1995,the proud owner of the "Bandolero's Museum" (Bandit Museum) says "I ain't myself a bandit.But what I am fond of is the history of Ronda.Both Bullfighters and Highwaymen mark the history of Ronda.I am trying to preserve the history, in fact the history of Romantic Travelers,highwaymen and the police is so interesting that you would be more than awed to have a look.There are always two periods in relation to highwaymen - one that is romantic and another that is there is their struggle which made them murderers and stealers.

Ronda:The Bandit Museum:Where Did Romantic Travelers Come From?

He continues,The Romantic travelers were writers from England or United states,they used to cross the 
mountains by donkeys and come to Ronda to know about the tradition,gastronomy,legends and living style and when they returned to their home,they wrote books about these different subjects.And these books were translated in many different languages

It is said that the first tourist in this area were romantic travelers.So he collected all the letters,paintings,comics,guns,and stories from one city to another from the different offices of police/town hall which captured the essence of Highwaymen and Romantic Travelers together.In Ronda,as part of celebrating the romance of these highwaymen,Feria Romantica is celebrated from 31st May - 1st June where everyone dresses in a traditional attire as in 19th century and the streets of Ronda has performances 
showcasing independence war and romantic tales of history.1954 was the time when the history of highwaymen was over.

It is dedicated to the romantic period of the highwaymen.The period is represented in cinema,literature,theater,serial(famous serial on TV) and romantic novels

Bull Fighting in Ronda

If you must,and if you are lucky to get tickets which I suggest get in advance,do get the one for Bull Fighting in Ronda in September.Celebrities,Royals,and people from all over the world,rush in Ronda for the spectacular Bull Fighting Show.

Bull Fighting History

Some of the prominent Bull Fighters from the historical times were Antonio Ordonez , a leading Bull Fighter from 1950's who came face to face with over 1000 bulls.He was also a friend of the American film star Orson Welles who was also a bull fighter, and when Orson Welles died in 1987, his ashes were scattered on Antonio's estate.Pedro Romero was another legendary Bull Fighter from the city of Ronda.

Opened in Ronda in 1785,the two dynasties of Bull Fighters i.e Ordonez and Romero played a very important role in the history of Bull Fight during the 18-19th century. Fransisco Romero,the grandfather of Pedro was a matador(bullfighter)  and he introduced the concept of Muleta (Muleta is the handkerchief used in the moment of killing the bull - in the last stage of a bull fight.All the sons and grandsons of Fransisco became famous matador the one who was the most famous was Pedro.It is said that he was so elegant that with him started Bullfighting as a profession in the 18th century.Before this it was more of a tradition in the north of Spain in the 17th century. - the bulls from the countryside were brought to the main squares of the village.In the south of Spain,it was more common to have bull fight on horseback

Trace back earlier in the 16th century,King Philip II of Spain promoted the training of horses for military 
purposes and the institution where we have the bull-fighting now belong to royalties. In the 18th century,They started bull fighting on horses.It is when they decided to build closed buildings with enough capacity for the amount of people who would want to see such a special activity.The one in Ronda is created in 18th century in the oldest one.Earlier the radius was 64 meters,which is not allowed now as the current new regulations do not allow more than 60 meters.

Bull Fighting Techniques and Fair

There are some cases where bull fighters have been injured by the bulls and some even killed by the bulls. Ordóñez met a number of writers and actors, and he also starred in a few films. Antonio was a long time friend with Ernest Hemingway, whom he called Father Ernesto. The Feria Goyesca (properly called the Feria de Pedro Romero) stems from the inter-relationship of three main personae which spanned over three centuries, all with strong connections to Ronda. A fairly recent festival, at least in Andalucian terms, it has become an event that has captured the imagination of Spain with its traditional dress, important bullfights and its ageless glamour.This year it is from 4th Sept - 7th Sept in Ronda.

The gates in the bull fighting are used two times - at the beginning during the ceremonial entry of the bull fighter(a special gate with a very nice decoration) and with the group of people who assist him and the end of the bull fight after the bull is killed,he is carried by the mules towards the exit.The bull which dies in the bull fight,their meat is sold.There are some traditional dishes made of this kind of meat.

There are some cases where bull meat is distributed to poor and needy as in some period of history,the Bull Fights were organized only for charity.Also in some places,they decide to give it to some institution.

There are special bulls used for the bull fight as the cattle breeding is different than the other cattle. The Matador should know how to fight them,its different each time with different bulls.It depends on the expertise of the matador to analyse if the bull ahead can fight or not this special bull at the moment.The Bulls are usually 2 years old.

Ronda:Dividing Old From The New

A lot of people when they come to Ronda,they ask why is Ronda situated just along the bridge and we have an old quarter which is a natural fortress of 150 meter high here?One of the important reason is the situation of Ronda with reference to the geography - in between the coast(south area) so the traders used the path  
in the middle of the mountains and when they came here,they would use this as base to other regions of Andalucia - Sevilla ,Granada,Cordoba and so Ronda in earlier days was the meeting point.

It is Surprising to know that Ronda has a twin city,which is Chefchaouen in North Morocco. Both cities share deep historical roots.Just next to the exit of Ronda is there is a remain of the part of the tower from the Roman aqueduct.Just 22 kms from Ronda is the ancient Roman Theatre of Acinipo.

Ronda:Eggs To The Nuns And Old Architecture

The beautiful gardens in Ronda has different styles where you can find renaissance Gothic mudejar style and 
at the other side of the garden we can find a town hall.Ronda has small baroque style churches which is very nice.Here, the tradition is that people come every Monday to pray St nicholos for job.There is another tradition here i.e 

"The couples when they organised a wedding,at that time if the climate is not so gud(or there may be risk of raining) so some of the members of family, their friends come here,they offer the eggs to the nuns.That is said to work,so the day when they are coming to get married,suddenly becomes 
a very good and bright day."

There is a chapel that belongs to the 16th century and that has been used as a different thing every time .In the period of time,it was used as school,that was started by an important women of Ronda,who created this school for the women of this city.St Mary is a beautiful church that has different style and was started in the end of the 15th century but was not finished until 17th century because of different circumstances. So we find the church  now with a renaissance part,Gothic part and Barack style and the main mosque.The tower has hints of mudejar,Gothic and renaissance.

Ronda:To Lovers Of Nature

Ronda is also an ideal place for lovers of nature with very nice quiet atmosphere and 3 natural protected areas.In this case,we were speaking about Natural park of Sierra de Grazalema , a very interesting natural park with botanical plants.The second area was the area behind us.

Pinsapo:A Tree Which Has Both Male and Female together

In both areas they have special kind of trees in the Gardens of Ronda.Resembling the Christmas tree,it  used to be during the Ice Times in different parts of the world but after the Ice Times it disappeared.We can find 100's and 1000's of these trees in the mountain,every year botanic students from different countries come here to study the tree called 'Pinsapo'.The third natural park is situated in the south a little further away from the mountains,near the coast which is ideal place for Sports and Nature. Pinsapo is a special tree where both the male and female elements are present in the same tree-the top part being feminine and the middle part being masculine and that is how their reproduction system goes.

Ronda:The Famous Bridge And Hanging Homes

One thing which makes Ronda famous is the bridge that connects the old city to the new,overlooking a valley.Alongside are relaxed typical houses in countryside and many charming hotels.Many of these historical buildings are dating back to 1819 and have been renovated in the hotel of old heritage style.The material used in these heritage homes represent typical handicraft of those days such as use of wrought iron and carving wood on the Windows,Balconies,Courtyards,inside the homes.

There are basically three types of farming activities in Ronda due to climate and minerals of the soil - first is the production of Olive oil,the second is the production of wine and they have around 23 wineries of which 3 of them are organic,and the third is the apple of Ronda.A very particular of Ronda is the hanging houses.We have many like these in Ronda,we visited one of them with the beautiful gardens.When we looked at the bottom,down to the valley from the bridge,we could see part of the fortress of the 13th century which in this case,was the line of walls used for the protection of animals.Situated next to the river and they were called "mills gate".

That's it for today,for tomorrow,we have more.Ask me anything,if you are planning Spain,I might just help :)

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