The Ancient City of Acinipo

Roman theatre, Acinipo. © Michelle Chaplow
Roman theatre, Acinipo.

The Ancient City of Acinipo

Those visiting Ronda or travelling to Seville should consider this detour.  The ancient city of Ancinipo is at a place known locally as Ronda la Vieja (Old Ronda) being 15km north of Ronda and actually in the municipal district of Montecorto. The escarpment here is also a popular with hand gliding enthusiasts. 

The impressive stone build entrance gate looks out of place as it leads into a farmyard complete with chained but friendly dogs.

Don't be put off. Walk up the hill in the direction of the large monument past numerous large piles of stones marking the location of houses. The piles of stones were made by farmers over the ages to recover arable or grazing land area. There is a little evidence of excavation in this area named "Domus".



The ruins of this 32 hectare Roman city are located at 1.000m above sea level. This is an urban are that thrived in the first century AD when it had a population of 5.000. It was mentioned in Plini and, inscriptions to Geninn Oppidi, to the god Marse and to Victoria Augusta have been found. The city even minted its own money, which features bunches of grapes. It later gave way to the town of Arunda where Ronda now sits, probably because the new site was easier to defend. Acinipo fell in 429 AD.

There was also a Bronze age settlement here between 1,100 and 750 BC. Near the car park the visitor can see the foundations of circular huts with the floor paving still in place. In one area a sign identifies the forum. Some large foundation stones and troughs can be seen. In this area excavations have found numerous buildings with emblems. This has lead archaeologists to believe that they must have belonged to public buildings.

Bronze age settlement at Ancinipo (c) Michelle Chaplow
Bronze age settlement at Ancinipo

Reaching the top of the escarpment behind the large monument, the visitor is suddenly rewarded with the sight of the Roman theatre, large enough to seat 2,000 people and in good condition - complete with an orange tiled orchestra pit and actors' changing rooms. It is suggested the theatre was started in 65 AD and completed about 200 AD. A modern steel stage has been constructed.

Very occasionally performances take place in the theatre. In May 2001 The First Acinipo Festival of Classic Greek and Roman Theatre took place organised by the "Asociación Cultural de Teatro Grecorromano de Málaga".

The latest area to be excavated and partially restored is the "Thermas" or baths. These are located near the lower perimeter fence and can be visited on the way out. The Roman baths, built in the first century B.C., are located in the lower part of the city. It is possible to observe caldarium, tepidarium and other rooms as well as several water pipes and architectural elements such as columns.

The impressive stone build arches offer postcard views to rural Andalucia © Michelle Chaplow
The impressive stone build arches offer postcard views to rural Andalucia

Opening hours 

Monday and Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday to Sunday: 09.00 to 14.30

Guided Visits

Guided visits can be organised at 9:30, 11:00 and 12:30. Reservations by email to [email protected].



How to Get to Acinipo

Leave Ronda in the direction of Seville on A-374. After 10 km and descending down to cross the river and the railway you will see a sign on the right for Acinipo and Ronda la Vieja. Take this MA-7402 country road uphill for about 12 km.