Monday, 30 October 2023, 21:43
This is one of the most spectacular and well-known gorges in Spain. But Ronda's Tajo is much more than that. Today it has become an emblem of this town that is at the heart of the Serranía mountains. Among other awards, it has been declared a natural monument of Andalucía.
Either from the Puente Nuevo (New Bridge), which was built to cross this gorge through which the River Guadalevín flows, or from the lookout points located on both sides, the views are formidable. However, there are also other lesser-known ways of getting to know this gorge, such as descending the stairway of what is known as the Mina Secreta de Ronda (Secret Mine of Ronda), which is accessed through the Casa del Rey Moro (House of the Moorish King), after paying the corresponding entrance fee. This way, you go down to the riverbed to get a very different perspective from the usual one.
There are also some narrow paths on the other side of the Puente Nuevo. There is the option of canyoning for the more daring. In any case, impressive dimensions await, as it is almost a hundred metres high.
A good way to get to know and even take photographs of the inseparable ensemble formed by the Tajo de Ronda and the Puente Nuevo is to take the hiking route that descends from the Plaza de María Auxiliadora to some of the crystal clear pools of water that the River Guadalevín offers below.
Visitors should look for the Camino de los Molinos, a cobbled footpath that goes down to the River Guadalevín. This section, also popularly known as the 'Cuesta del Cachondeo', zigzags to make the descent smoother. A few metres from the start, there is the option of leaving the main path to take a dirt track on the right. This path, which is optional, can be used to get close to the Puente Nuevo bridge itself and see the steep waterfall that the Guadalevín forms at its feet. In any case, care should be taken, as the path is relatively narrow. Walkers then have to return to the point where they left the approved path. This section is not recommended for people with vertigo.
The Puente Nuevo is a work attributed to the architect José Martín de Aldehuela. With this spectacular construction, he not only provided one of the best postcard pictures of Ronda but also united the two parts into which the town centre was divided by the impressive Guadalevín gorge.
Long before the Puente Nuevo joined the two side of Ronda, there were two bridges. The oldest of these is the one next to the Arab baths and is known as the Puente de Curtidurías. Although it is of medieval origin, some people know it as the Roman bridge. It once stood at the entrance to the medina. It is built of stone and has a single 12-metre-high arch over the Guadalevín riverbed. Between this and the Puente Nuevo, there is another bridge built between the two periods, which is now known as the Puente Viejo (Old Bridge), near the arch of Felipe V.
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