Saturday, February 16, 2013

Ronda II--La Cuida

Crossing the New Bridge in Ronda brought us into the old part of town called La Cuidad. The streets are narrower and a little more charming due to the compactness of everything. We could easily imagine neighbors sharing conversations or cups of sugar between second story windows (or first story windows if you're British).

Close enough to reach out and touch some one

Another charming street in the old part of town

We soon came on the Palacio del Marques de Savatierra. After the reconquest of the city in 1485, this house was given to Don Vasco Martin de Salvatierra. In the late 1700s it underwent extensive revisions. The doorway still dates from the 15th century and features colonial symbols and imitations of pre-Columbian art from the New World. The wrought iron is typical in the area, the Ronda forges being noted for such work. The sign nearby said that the patio is fabulous, but the building was not open for touring.

Palacio del Marques de Savatierra

We walked a little bit downhill from here and discovered some nice views.

View of the Old Bridge back into the newer part of town, include the Padre Jesus church

The same gorge spanned by the New Bridge

On our path was the Puerta de Felipe V, or the Archway of Philip V. It was built in 1742 to replace one of the Muslim-era gates. The spot was known as Sillon del Moro or The Moor's Armchair, possibly referring to the nice view he could contemplate?

Puerta de Felipe V

View of the gorge

The Old Bridge was the main bridge for the city until the New Bridge was built in the 18th century. This bridge was built in the 16th century to link the Moorish settlement to the small marketplace. It has a view down onto the Banos Arabes or Arab Baths built in the 13th century. Also, this bridge is used for lovers' locks like many other bridges in Europe.

View of the even older Arab bridge and baths

Locks on the bridge

Further back in town is the 14th century Minarete de San Sebastian, which boasts a similar architectural style to the Alhambra in Granada.

Minarete de San Sebastian

Further up the road is the main church in town. The Collegiate Church of St. Mary of the Incarnation was originally a mosque. In 1485 the Catholic monarchs had it consecrated as a Christian church. Originally it was an abbey but over the years became a parish church. After the earthquake of 1580 some renovations were made incorporating Renaissance and baroque styles.

Santa Maria la Mayor

Door of the church, not open when we visited

The minaret turned bell tower

On the same plaza is the Ayuntamiento or Town Hall, which was originally barracks for the provincial militias in the 1700s. Through the centuries it was abandoned and then used again by other militias and by a cavalry troop. In the 20th century it was renovated for use as the town hall. The two upper floors are well lit by the archways. The ground floor has almost no exterior illumination, perhaps for protection.

Town Hall

Down one of the streets is a small street chapel dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the dogmatic declaration of the Immaculate Conception (that Jeus's mother Mary was conceived without sin). The plaque says it was installed in 2005, so it is very recent, though in a more ancient style.

Street chapel of Our Lady

Further up we saw the Casa del Gigante, or the Giant's House, which is now a museum.

Casa del Gigante

We stopped off for a really great tapas lunch at a small cafe in the middle of the old town. More on the food in its own post later.

Our restaurant, Cafeteria la Veronica

We went back over the New Bridge to get our car, but not before stopping for clearer photos and a little ice cream dessert for L.

Puente Nuevo visible

We also saw a bank with a rather interesting night deposit.

L wants to feed the lion

J was less cautious

The drive back down the mountains was much clearer and more pleasant, though still nerve-racking. We could see spectacular vistas off of the cliff edges. At least, my wife could see spectacular vistas (and possibly Gibraltar in the distance). I kept my eyes on the curves of the road. We went back to the hotel for our standard afternoon of swimming in the pool and dinner in our room.

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