Explore Ronda's Moorish Defences

Puerta Y Murallas De Almocábar  Ronda
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Panarria

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Ronda importance to the history of Andalucia is related how secure it was from attack. This allowed Ronda to develop and become independent.

The City walls and castle of Ronda as built by the Moors and its combination the the steep shear cliffs of the gorge on 2 sides and steep hillside on the other 2 were so strong that they were unbeatable by warfare methods of the Moorish age.

Christian armies would pass by Ronda knowing that the defences were too strong.

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Albacara Walls

Albacara Walls, Ronda 2
© 2024 Noamds Travel Guide

The Albacara Walls are located in the mouth of Ronda Gorge roughly half way up the gorge. The wall ends with a shear drop to the gorge bottom and protects a slop that leads right up to the gorge top lip.

They spanned the space between the Puerta Del Viento or the Wind Gate and the Puerta de los Molinos or Gate of the Mills where the hill side was not as steep.

The walls would provide an area into which cattle could be driven if the town suspected an attack. There were also several very important flour & oil mills were located in the mouth of the gorge behind the wall.  It also restricted entry into the gorge the location of the towns water supply.

Location: 29400 Ronda Málaga Spain | Hours: 24 Hours | Price: Free
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Mill Gate (Puerta de los Molinos)

Arco Del Cristo, Ronda
© Diputación de Málaga

The Mill gate was near the end of the Albacara Wall next to the gorge edge. It was used for access to the mills further into the gorge mouth.

After the reconquest by the Christians the gate was renamed the Arch of Christ (Arco Cristo) because the Christians built a small shrine into the stonework

Location: Arco del Cristo. Murallas de Albacara y Molinos del Tajo, Ronda (Rincón Singular) 6 Plaza de María Auxiliadora 29400 Ronda Málaga, Spain | Hours: 24 Hour | Price: Free
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Wind Gate (Puerta del Viento)

Puerta Del Viento Ronda
CC BY-SA 2.0 / IMBiblio

Located at the other end of the Albacara Wall built onto a very tall vertical gherkin shaped rock that forms a natural wall.

Location: 29400 Ronda, Málaga, Spain | Hours: 24 Hour | Price: N/A
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Laurel Castle

Laurel Castle Ronda
© 2024 Noamds Travel Guide

The Impressive Alcazaba Walls

Ronda’s Castle, the ‘Castillo del Laurel‘ was built by the Moors on the highest point of Ronda and overlooks, and controls the entrance to the city via the Almocabar Gate and Imágenes Gate no longer in existence.

Although partly destroyed by the French in the Peninsular War of 1812 and more so by the Spanish in there road improvement scheme  to widen the street ‘Calle Imágenes’ and the erection of new buildings.

Location: Castillo del Laurel Calle Cuesta de las Imágenes 29400 Ronda Málaga Spain | Hours: N/A | Price: N/A
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Almocabar Gate

City Walls Ronda 04
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Tajchman

The Almocabar Walls are located on the southern side of Ronda and are well preserved and you can walk along the walls.

The Almocabar gate and Almocabar walls take there name from the Moorish word ‘Al maqabir’ meaning cemetery. By tradition Moorish cemeteries were built outside the city walls and the one at Ronda was located opposite the gate in what is now the Plaza Ruedo Alameda.

Location: Puerta de Almocábar Plazuela Arquitecto Francisco Pons Sorolla, s/n 29400 Ronda Málaga Spain | Website
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Iglesia del Espiritu Santo

Iglesia Del Espiritu Santo 2

Church of the Holy Spirt in the location of a previous Moorish defensive tower

The Holy Spirt church was built as a celebration of the Christian victory over the Moors in 1485. The church is built in the location of an octagonal defensive tower built by the moors and it had commanding views of the Almocabar Gate, Almocabar Walls and the approaches to Ronda from the Costa del Sol.

The tower was  totally destroyed by the cannon fire of the besieging Christian Army.

Location: Calle Espíritu Santo, 15, 29400 Ronda, Málaga, Spain | Hours: Monday to Saturday 10am till 2pm then 4pm till 7pm | Price: 1€
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Levante Walls

Levante Walls Ronda
© 2024 Noamds Travel Guide

The Levante Walls are located to the East of the Old Town of Ronda or La Ciudad. The Eastern side was a more vulnerable side of the city because the natural defenses of high steep cliffs were not present, instead there was a slope in places right up to the walls on the summit, in others up to a small cliff face. Therefore there was a double line of walls & in places a triple line.

Location: Calle Armiñán, 14 29400 Ronda Málaga Spain | Hours: 24 Hours | Price: N/A
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Cijara Gate

Explore Ronda’s Moorish Defences

The Cijara Gate was located in the Levante Walls and a main entrance into the city. The current short outer wall just before the gate probably extended to other gate(s) no longer visible by the Puente Romano. This gate led into the Jewish Quarter. In the valley bottom below the Cijara Gate is the Baños Árabes where visitors to Ronda would refresh themselves before entering the city.

Philipe V Arch

City Gate Ronda 4
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Marlene VD

The Arch of Philipe V was actually erected in 1742 but did replace a narrow defensive gate built by the Moors. On the arch you will find an inscription and the coats of arms of both the Anjou & Borbons. There is a nice view of the Padre Jesus Church through the arch.

Location: Calle Marqués de Salvatierra, 30, 29400 Ronda, Málaga, Spain
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The Water Mine

Casa Del Rey Moro Water Gate
© Casa del Rey Moro

A key to the defense of Ronda was an adequate water supply. The water mine is a shaft that descends to the river and gave access to the River. The water wheel was powered by Christian slaves!

Location: La Casa del Rey Moro, Calle Cuesta de Santo Domingo, 9 29400 Ronda Málaga Spain | Hours: 10am-9.30pm May-Sep, to 8pm Oct-Apr | Price: €6 | Website
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The introduction of the use of cannon changed in siege warfare dramatically changed the impregnability of Ronda. The first confirmed use of cannon in Europe was actually  by the Moors in the Seige of Cordoba in 1280.

By miss information the Christian Army had drawn the many of the Moorish troops, led by Hamet el Zegri, out to the defence of Málaga and an inexperienced interim governor, Abraham al Haquim, was left in charge of Ronda.

Besides heavy bombing of the southern walls including the complete destruction of the octagonal defensive tower, which the Iglesia del Espiritu Santo was built on top of.

The Christians had also found out about the ‘secret’ Mine water entrance in the gorge . Friday 13th of May, despite fierce resistance by its Moorish defenders, the mine was taken and thus cut off the Moors from there water supply. Within a few days the Moors had to surrender…

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