Acinipo. with its Roman theatre, has been abandoned for decades. / karl smallman

Ronda council applies to the Junta to manage 'one of most important archaeological sites in Andalucía' itself

The Roman town at Acinipo, which is about 20 kms from the town, has been abandoned for years and is in such a poor state of repair that it is now on the danger list

VANESSA MELGAR Ronda

Ronda's town council has decided to ask the Junta de Andalucía to allow it to manage the Acinipo archaeological site directly. The idea is that they apply for a four-year contract with the option to extend it for a further four years.

The mayor, María de la Paz Fernández, said the negotiations for an agreement with the Andalusian government have been going on for three years, and that it will be the Turismo de Ronda, S.A. municipal company that will be responsible for the management of Acinipo if the Junta agrees. “It’s time to get this sorted out,” said Fernández, alluding to the fact that previous agreements have not come to anything.

The spokeswoman for Contigo Ronda, Isabel Barriga, said this is an important step because “Acinipo is one of he most important sites in Andalucía, or I would say in Spain, and we have suffered the indignity of it being on a red list because it has been so badly neglected,” she said, referring to the Hispania Nostra association.

Damage and looting

Acinipo has been abandoned for years, and this has resulted in damage to the remains, and looting of coins and other items from the site. Numerous people have called for it to be restored and Ronda council has made several attempts to arrange this by proposing that it runs it direcly with the involvement of private entities. A management plan was even drawn up, but nothing came of it.

The Junta de Andalucía recently allocated 500,000 euros to protect part of the Roman Theatre which had been damaged by rain. The money was used to dig a perimeter drainage channel, clean up part of the land by clearing weeds and repair some of the mortar.

Acinipo is about 20 kilometres from Ronda town, in the area known as Ronda La Vieja. The Roman Theatre was classified as an historic-artistic monument in 1931 and is one of the best preserved in Spain, but the site also contains elements from the III millennium B.C. to the late Roman period, and some from the Nasrid period.

Thermal baths have been discovered at Acinipo, with three pools and remains of the heating system, two necropolis, urns, funerary offerings, coins which had been minted in the town, the remains of towers and a house with its own shrine, among other buildings.