Tag Archives: Places to visit in the Sierra de Grazalema

The VoiceMap GPS Audio Guide for Ronda

If you are staying in the Grazalema area then most likely a trip to Ronda will be on the agenda and so its great to announce that recently I created the The VoiceMap GPS Audio Guide for Ronda

The VoiceMap GPS Audio Guide for Ronda

Listening to me along the way (and also some captivating guitar music from the amazing Paco Seco), you’ll pass breathtaking lookout points including the Mirador de Ronda and the Mirador de Aldehuela.

As we leave the new town behind us and enter the old, past the Mondragón Palace and museum we’ll visit Ronda’s former defensive border at the Puerta de Almocábar, and quake in the boots of history’s soldiers as you imagine approaching armies.

From there we’ll follow the old walls to the Arab Baths and the Puente Viejo bridge, before making our way back over Puente Nuevo. The tour ends in front of the Plaza de Toros, the Bullring of the Royal Cavalry of Ronda.

I’ll also provide answers to some intriguing questions like:

• What did Blas infante, the father of Spanish nationalism, do in Ronda?
• Why is one particular Italian priest famous around here?
• Who built the Puente Nuevo?
• Did Queen Isabella really visit Ronda?
• When did the Christian conquerors arrive?
• How important is bullfighting in Andalucia?

Creating the VoiceMap GPS Audio Guide for Ronda from the content here at Ronda Today has been a real pleasure and I hope that you enjoy walking the tour as much I did making it.

You can get the guide directly here: https://voicemap.me/tour/ronda/ronda-andalucia-s-city-of-dreams-a-walking-tour

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Dolmen La Giganta – Dolmen el Chopo

The Dolmen La Giganta – Dolmen el Chopo (after the name of the farm where it is situated an chopo is the poplar tree in English). It is well worth seeking out for the fantastic views and fascinating history of the Sierra de Grazalema

Location of the Dolmen el Gigante / Chopo in the Sierra de Grazalema

Dolmens are stone built burial chambers or tombs. They are created by standing huge stones on their edges to create the basic form and then these are capped with massive slabs. Soil would have been used to totally cover the entire area, but this has washed away over the centuries.

This dolmen is a longer structure, forming a corridor for multiple burials. Another name for such tombs such as these is Megalith, which refers to the huge stone slabs used to cap the roof. Many are dated to the Neolithic period around 4000 to 3000 BC.

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Findings within the better preserved tombs include hand thrown pottery, stone tools such as flint axes, beads and other ornaments. They are often positioned on a high plateaux or places surrounded by tremendous scenery.

Dolmen La Giganta is a long chambered dolmen, it still has several support stones and an impressive top stone in place, quite amazing when you consider its age and exposed position. It is believed that this funerary monument may date from the end of the Neolithic period. Standing alongside it one can wonder at how much time and effort went into quarrying, transporting and lifting such enormous stones with only the most basic of tools.

How much the people of that time must have valued the purpose of creating such a monument and placing gifts beside the deceased. They have chosen an amazing site as from here there are fabulous views towards Sierra de las Nieves and the foothills of the Sierra de Grazalema.

How to get there

The Dolmen del Chopo is situated between Ronda and Grazalema, indeed it is very close to the main Ronda to Jerez road but as there are no sign posts for it so most people are unaware of its presence.

From Ronda drive towards Jerez de la Frontera. Turn off the A374 onto the A372 signposted towards “Parque Natural Sierra de Grazalema” just before the “Puerto de Montejaque“.

After 1km, you will see a tight loop in the road with a large white farm house and building housing goats.

Immediately after this the road forks take the left curve towards Grazalema and straight away on the left there is sufficient area to park your car.

From here walk back past the farm house and goat shed which is now on your left and after the road curves to the left, turn right along a dirt track that has a chain across the entrance.

You will pass an old farm on the left and continue uphill to the right onto a plateau with arable fields and scenic distant views of a mountain ridge.

Follow the track to the left and now there is arable land on your right and a steep bank with eucalyptus trees on the left.

Ahead you can see an olive grove, we are aiming for the far side of this. As you reach the far end, you will see a gated driveway, and from here you can now spot the dolmen.

Turn right at the end of the fence, walking at the edge of the arable land…caution. If it has rained recently this field becomes impassable due to heavy mud!

You cannot get right up to the dolmen as it is on the other side of the wire fence.

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The giants of western Andalucia a tale from the olden days

Once upon a time, in the land that is now Western Andalucia, things were different. Full of bear and wolf, bison, elephant and perhaps other creatures that have long since been forgotten in the mists of time….Giants! Don’t be silly I hear you say.

Giants live for a long time it is said. More than one hundred times the lives of a man but as the world has changed and the old souls have dwindled, all we have now are childrens bedtime stories and ruins in the dirt….But it wasn’t always so….

Many thousands of years ago in the hills and mountains of what is now known as the Sierra de Grazalema a giant was born. His mother named him Treow after the huge oak trees that had been planted by his father in the mountains and as he grew, his father taught him how to tend the countryside. For giants were not the evil killing creatures that some fairytale stories would have you believe. No, the giants kept the mountains tall and proud. They planted the mighty oaks and graceful willows to hold the soil and they tended the valleys down to the sea protecting the land as guardians.

Growing up as most giants did he knew little of what lay outside his fathers domain. He learned and tended and protected the trees but When Treow was one thousand four hundred and fifty years old his thoughts turned to a land of his own and maybe even a wife. A place to tend, a lady giant to love and children of his own one day to leave the land in their care when he was gone.

Many years later, times were changing in the world. Giants were few and far between, Killed by the smaller greedy humanna for their supposed treasure and persecuted out of fear and ignorance….Now, torch lights in the night signified it was the end of the peaceful time in the valleys of the snowy mountains. The attack was well planned and at the end lay dead two gentle giants that had only ever made good deeds. The last words to Treow from his father as he fell to axe and arrow protecting the body of his wife were “Run Treow!, run!… and Treow ran as the trees fell before him. he ran in his despair and rage and fear. Why did this happen? Why? We only ever tended the land and gave the treasure freely to all… Why? he cried… What is this madness? At last Treow went to seek Willow who lived to the east. maybe she could help him find the answers to his desperate questions….Many days later, half blinded, starving and frightened he fell to the ground and slept…

In the high valleys between the towering peaks there lived a peaceful race of humanaa… Since time immemorial they had helped a lone giantess tend the slopes, planting trees and keeping the water flows clear…the valley was beautiful, teeming with life and love, protected and guarded as it was by such beings… They had heard of the plight of Treow and sent messengers to Willow and as they knew she would, she went to him and held him and brought him to her home fixing wounds and hurts….As giants do, they became friends and worked together with the help of the community around them…. More trees were planted and mountains were shaped. Rivers were moulded and the land became so full of diversity that even the giants themselves were left breathless at the wonder before them…..

After 10 generations of humanna had passed and the world had once again began to speed up it was time for Treow and Willow to leave this world and pass to a different place…No children to leave their land to, they placed it into the care of the humanna elders trusting them to protect and nourish the land… The community built two huge stone chambers with standing stones and lintels on two hills and the bodies of the giants were laid, Treow in one and Willow in the other… To face each other and hold the mountains together in binding love for eternity…….

And today? In our world…Thousands of years have passed and you can still see the ruined dolmens of the giants at El Chopo and on the other side of the valley you can see the even more ruined dolmen of “The Giant”…. There they were and here we are standing in this incredible scenery where their treasure is here for us all to see…

This tale is based on an old and seldom used bedtime story told to children in the the area around the Sierra de Grazalema and the Sierra de las Nieves….

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