Ronda is one of the oldest cities in Spain. Its origins date back to the Neolithic period, according to the archaeological discoveries made in its old town. However, the presence of man in these lands is much earlier. A series of sites located in various caves in the area are good proof of this, among which the Cueva de la Pileta stands out as one of the best examples of Andalusian Palaeolithic cave art.
During the most recent prehistoric period there was a proliferation of settlements throughout the territory which, as far as the remains that have survived to the present day are concerned, will be represented by one of their most important cultural manifestations, such as the megalithic necropolis of Dolmen del Chopo and Encinas Borrachas
It was during this period, then, that the two most important villages in the region, Acinipo and Ronda, were also consolidated, although their respective periods of apogee would not occur until later: the former in Roman times and the latter in medieval times.
There are also numerous vestiges of the Roman occupation of the Peninsula in this area, including those discovered in the city of Ronda itself. But, without a doubt, the archaeological site of the Roman city of Acinipo (Ronda la Vieja) is the most important, given its state of conservation as well as that of some of the most emblematic elements of a classical city: the theatre. Many magnificent remains of the old city of Arunda have been preserved.
With the disappearance of Acinipo, and after the convulsive period that was the fall of the Roman Empire, the focus of attention shifted to Ronda, which, although it was a very small nucleus during the first part of the Middle Ages, has been the protagonist of all the historical ups and downs that have occurred in this territory ever since.
The Islamic period also stands out, however, for its importance and for the cultural legacy it left behind, which is still perceptible in many of its manifestations (urban planning, gastronomy, traditions, farming systems, etc.). It was at this time that Ronda was configured and consolidated as a city, becoming the capital of one of the Kuras (provinces) into which Al-Andalus was divided (specifically, that of Takurunna), and even becoming an independent kingdom (Taifa) after the dismantling of the Caliphate of Córdoba. Heritage of the time, we find the Almocobar Gate, the Walls of Cijara, the Baths, the Minaret of San Sebastian and the Wall of Albacara, among others.
However, the most significant role, and the one for which it is best known, will come with the Nasrid kingdom of Granada, since its proximity to the territories conquered by the Castilians will mean that both the city and the region will become a particularly important frontier enclave. With the conquest of the city by the Catholic Monarchs (1485) there were profound economic and cultural transformations that can still be seen today in the physiognomy of the urban structure: the opening of previously non-existent squares, widening of streets, etc. From that date onwards, Christians contributed new buildings to the already rich heritage of Ronda: the Palace of Mondragón, numerous churches (Santa Marîa la Mayor, Espíritu Santo, Santa Cecilia, Padre Jesús...etc.), convents, the temple of the Virgen de los Dolores or the hermitage excavated in rock and consecrated to the Virgen de la Cabeza. In fact, it can be said that the face of the city is Arab but with Renaissance and Baroque abalatorios perfectly merged with the intrinsic and hidden mystery of the origins of the old city.
It will be the eighteenth century that will mark, the definitive guidelines of the role that Ronda will have in the context of Andalusia. It will be when the most significant and emblematic monuments of the aristocracy of that time and of the current Ronda will be built: the New Bridge and the Bullring. But civil buildings were also built, such as the Palace of the Marquis of Salvatierra, the Town Hall or the House of Juan Bosco. From that moment on, and throughout the nineteenth century, the romantic image of the city and its entire Serranía was forged, in which the world of banditry and bullfighting would make a deep impression on many illustrious travellers, as can be seen in the quotations of Rainer Marie Rilke, the drawings of the Scotsman David Robert, the quotations of Ernest Hemingway or those of Orson Welles. The fact is that the urban layout, with narrow, winding, irregular and confusing streets... has given rise to a city, sometimes secret, that has to be discovered and that caused real passion in those first illustrious travellers.