Ronda: The Andalusian City That Captivated Orson Welles

Mary Elizabeth Collins

Declared of Cultural Interest, the enchanting city of Ronda in Malaga has a rich and diverse heritage, unique environment and beautiful vistas.

The enchanting city of Ronda, located in the province of Málaga, Andalusia, Spain, is surrounded by a mountainous terrain that enhances its mysterious charm. It is one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in Spain. According to archaeological discoveries in the old town, we can trace its origins to Neolithic times. Declared of Cultural Interest since 1966, the city has a rich and diverse historic heritage.


To visit Ronda is to lose oneself in the captivating aroma of blooming geraniums coming from the balconies and courtyards. One must enter the old taverns, sip some sherry and have a tapa while listening to passionate flamenco singers; steep the soul in a unique environment of Roman remains and Arab baths. But, above all, you should visit the 16th-century Church of La Merced, which houses the silver reliquary containing the uncorrupted hand of St. Teresa of Jesus.

A stroll along the Alameda del Tajo, a tree lined boulevard from the 19th century, reveals glorious panoramic views of Ronda and the New Bridge–the emblem of the city. Erected in the late 18th century above the Guadalevín River, the majestic Puente Nuevo de Ronda is a colossal 320-feet tall structure. It was built, using ashlar stone extracted from the bottom of the Tajo Gorge, to unite the city´s old quarter with the modern areas.

Ronda is home to one of the oldest and most monumental bullrings in all of Spain: the Royal Cavalry of Ronda, built in 1785. Since 1954, it is the official venue of the traditional Goya bullfight. For the occasion, both audience and bullfighters don costumes from Francisco de Goya‘s times in a festive celebration worthy of the late 18th century. The Royal Cavalry of Ronda also houses a bullfighting museum.

Sunsets are unforgettable from the Albacara Walls, built during the Muslim period to protect the mills along the Tagus River. The city still retains its two original access entrances: Puerta de los Molinos (or Arco de Cristo) and Puerta del Viento. Other sites of interest are the Temple of Santo Domingo, Casa de Don Bosco, Santa María la Mayor, Palacio de Mondragón, the City Hall and its many museums.

Parador Nacional de Turismo.

Ronda captivated the famous filmmaker Orson Welles. A lover of Spanish culture and its people, Welles cultivated the friendship of the most renowned bullfighters of the era, including Antonio Ordoñez and Luis Miguel Dominguín. After his death in 1985 in Los Angeles, California–and by his express wishes–his ashes were brought to Ronda. They rest in the San Cayetano farm owned by his good friend Ordoñez.

The best place to stay in Ronda is the Parador de Turismo, located in the city center, a privileged location near the famous Puente Nuevo. You will find comfortable and spacious suites and a typically Andalusian cuisine with creative touches.

PHOTOS: Courtesy Turismo de Ronda & Parador de Turismo de Ronda.

© | 2019