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THE SECRETS OF RONDA BRIDGE REVEALED
When people think of Ronda, Spain, they usually imagine a great magnificent bridge overlooking everything else.
The legendary construction which pops up in their minds is named Puente Nuevo, or Ronda bridge.
People dream of a day trip to Ronda, hoping to see this bridge and the breathtaking panorama of the gorge (tajo). It is not surprising that the locals and tourists are so fascinated by its incredible design.
The visitors are also lucky to contemplate the buildings of the ancient city of Ronda and stroll its atmospheric streets.
The Ronda bridge survived numerous historical events, and the names of some famous people are associated with its creation. So what secrets is Puente Nuevo keeping?
Puente Nuevo: its name and role
Puente Nuevo Bridge in Ronda town, or Ronda bridge, is a bridge that was built in the 18th century. It is located over the Guadalevin River, in the town of Ronda in the Andalusian province of Malaga.
Puente Nuevo is the Spanish equivalent of “New Bridge”, but it can be called “new” only symbolically. The building of the bridge started in 1759 and finished in 1793. In 1735, the “old” bridge with one arch was constructed at the same place.
The work was carried out according to a completely different project and lasted only eight months. The bridge broke down after five years, so after that the new one had to be built.
Puente Nuevo in Ronda is a great bridge, which is recognized as the eternal symbol of Ronda, Spain. It is always depicted on postcards and in travel guide books. Puente Nuevo is not a simple engineering structure.
It looks like a fortress carved into the cliffs. Its foundation stands on the bottom of the abyss, the Ronda bridge is built of carved stone. The stone for construction was mined right at the bottom of the ravine.
The author of the project, José Martin de Aldehuela, planned to weave the building into the natural landscape, organically combining it with the architecture of the ancient place.
The construction equipment was the pinnacle of technical thought in those years. The new bridge connected the old and the new quarters, one of which was known for its trade and was called the Little Market, and the other part was called the City.
The bridge provided transport links and changed the life of the city, initiating the development of trading industry in Ronda.
Right after the bridge had been built, merchants from other cities began to come in an effort to develop their business.
Soon there were a lot of them, and the government had to take some measures. First, the merchants coming from other cities had to pay taxes. Because of this, many people sold their goods outside the gates of the bridge, and since then there have been several shopping areas outside Puente Nuevo in Ronda, Spain.
The making of Ronda Bridge in Andalusia
The year 1542 was a landmark for Ronda town, Spain. Market areas began to form, the number of citizens increased, and there was a need for a crossing that could link La Ciudad with the other side across the narrow gorge. Being large and plain, the terrain was great for expanding Ronda’s territory.
In the 1700s, Ronda finally received an opportunity to build a bridge over the Guadalevin River.
The purpose of this bridge was to transport more people and vehicles and provide a link between El Mercadillo and La Ciudad. It became necessary because of the inability to use the driveway through Padre Jesus.
In 1734, the architects first tried to build the bridge. It was Jose Garcia and Juan Camacho. They used only one arch to create the crossing via the ravine.
The Ronda bridge was erected very quickly, so it was not safe enough. The old Puente did not endure the tension and all the transportation that the residents carried. It collapsed, and 50 people tragically lost their lives falling into the ravine.
Then they started to build the present-day bridge in Ronda in 1759 and completed the project in 1793. All in all, it took 34 years.
The construction is 98 meters high and 66 meters long. Domingo Lois de Monteagudo was the creator of its authentic styling.
He was a well-known builder, and it is also considered that he guided the building of the lower part of the bridge, but since 1778 he ceased taking part in this project.
In 1785, the construction of Puente Nuevo stopped and the superintendent of Ronda invited a prominent architect of Andalucia, José Martin de Aldehuela, to finalize the construction.
His outstanding styling transformed it into a masterpiece. Thereforth, Ronda bridge is a famous symbol of Spain, which is often photographed.
Antonio Diáz Machuca was commissioned to bring the architect’s plan to life. It was he who invented a system of machinery that lifted big rocks from the ravine.
The rocks were mined and processed there, and only then they were lifted to the place of construction with his devices.
The Ronda bridge (puente nuevo) was built in several phases. During the first phase, the basement for the main arch was created.
The second phase was marked by the construction of two more arches, and the last one is known for the construction of the main part of the bridge and the pivotal premises used as a prison for culprits, although later it served as a jail for political prisoners.
Originally, the room was used as a bar and was the favorite place of rest of city dwellers. Today, it is used to locate and store the equipment that is needed for lighting the bridge at night.
Puente Nuevo in Ronda was inaugurated during the May Fair of 1793. Since then, the citizens have been proud of the symbol of their city, and the government has opened a museum for tourists on the site of a former prison.
Visiting the venue, those who have a day trip to Ronda can learn about the history of the premises and the bridge as a whole.
A little more rumors behind Puente Nuevo in Ronda
There were rumors that José Martin de Aldehuela took his own life, jumping from Puente Nuevo in Ronda because he had been offered to build another, more beautiful bridge, so he was frustrated and desperate.
The truth is that he actually lived happily ever after and died only in 1802.
Fortunately, it was just a rumor and another bridge was not necessary, so José Martin de Aldehuela legacy has been preserved to this day.
Despite his being a prominent architect in Malaga, the greatest achievement in his career was the Puente Nuevo in Ronda.
The fact that the bridge in Ronda (puente nuevo) is located at such a height will surely arouse human imagination and therefore people can invent many stories related to accidents. But on the other hand, staying on such a high bridge can be really dangerous.
Many accidents have occurred due to reckless actions or attempts to take good pictures of the canyon below.
After Ernest Hemingway wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls, people were terrified and wondered if those convicts were dumped off Puente Nuevo in the times of the Spanish civil war. Even today this topic is actively discussed.
It may just be the writer’s fiction, but it may also be true. It’s up to you to believe it or not, but it is absolutely true that such stories are one of the reasons why people arrange a day trip to Ronda. They want to dive into the mysterious atmosphere of this city and the bridge in particular.
A day trip to Ronda
Those who are lucky to visit Ronda and the Puente Nuevo in particular can enjoy the magnificent architectural landmarks and scenic landscapes.
You can find a beautiful view not only from Ronda bridge (puente nuevo). You can also go down to the bottom of the canyon and see the mountains and the bridge with all its arches and details.
Visitors can visit the museum and learn about the history and construction of the bridge.
Not too far from the main attraction, there are also many shops where you can buy souvenirs. Although the city is ancient, you can find many fashionable and modern hotels and restaurants.
To make a day trip to Ronda unforgettable, you can book a private day tour with us to enjoy not only the beauty of the bridge, but also the glory of many famous streets of Ronda.
The people, who had an opportunity to visit Ronda Spain, have generated some lavish comments sharing their experience:
–“This bridge is an extraordinary place. There are gorgeous views and amazing panoramas. When you get here, you seem to travel to another era!”
– “Puente Nuevo is truly amazing. When you look at it, you can’t believe that it was created by man”
– “It is so good to have a lot of observation decks on the bridge! The views are breathtaking!”
Indeed, Puente Nuevo doesn’t leave anybody cold. Beyond doubt, it is a great contribution to the world architecture and engineering. What you need is to go to Ronda and see it for yourself!