A remarkable trip if you stay in or close to Ronda in the province of Málaga, is a visit to the Roman theatre and remains of Acinipo or “Ronda la Vieja” (Ronda the old).
The name “Ronda la Vieja” is somewhat misleading. It gives the false impression that this place was once Ronda, which has subsequently been moved to its current location. The remains of Acinipo are located about 22 kilometres from Ronda in a rural hilly, empty landscape. They are of great historical value. It is believed that ‘Ronda la Vieja’ was once the administrative centre of the area. The city even had its own currency. The place has been inhabited by humans since the Neolithic. Copies of coins found here are now on display in Ronda’s archaeological museum.
A high wall of huge granite stones stands out lonesome from afar on top of a hill. It is surrounded by round heaps of white stones. Next to the car park is a small booth. Therein a not too verbose Spaniard grumbles to us we must advise how many we are and what nationality. Nothing here resembles information about the background of this sight in the office. He does tell us that all the remains we see here are entirely from the first century BC. Seemingly, information is so scarce due to the lack of interest of the local population in their cultural heritage.
Acinipo and Arunda
Although you can hardly infer that now Acinipo was a fairly large Roman city. It had public baths, a forum, a temple and thus the large theatre. In the first century AD the town was abandoned because it was unable to defend itself against the city of Arunda, present-day Ronda. The Roman theatre is very large and, due to the high wall in the middle of the void, also quite impressive. Behind the wall, which must have been part of the façade, the rest of the theatre appears. The stands could accommodate 2,000 people and parts of the artists’ dressing rooms and the orchestra pit have been preserved.
A visit to the ancient city of Acinipo is good to combine with a visit to Ronda, Setenil the las Bodegas or Grazalema.