Ronda – Arab Baths
Arab Baths – Ronda
These baths are situated in the old quarter or the quarter of the tanneries, dating from the Islamic period, and later called San Miguel. Its location in an eminently artisan zone is due to the close proximity of the Arroyo de las Culebras (the Snake Stream), which provided the baths with water, while at the same time marking the boundary of the quarter´s south-east side.
Owing to their size, it its likely that these were the principal baths in the Moorish city. The enclosure was protected by a wall of mortar and masonry. The baths were provided with water by a waterwheel and a small aqueduct. The heating system, in turn, followed the basic lines of that employed in the times of Romans, except that the latter used steam in place of body-deep pools.
The structure of the building is typically Moorish. Made of brick, it has a central chamber divided into three galleries with horseshoe arches and a mixture of vaults and cupolas, and two smaller chambers located at each end, covered also with vaults. The three chambers, which were designated as warm, hot and cold, received light through a number of star-shaped roof openings. Before these chambers there was an area for changing-rooms and the various services provided for an installation of this type, for which it was thus situated close to the main entrance. The woodshed and boiler-or heating-room was situated on the opposite side, at the back of the building.
The baths were constructed between the 13th and 14th Centuries and area the best conserved in the entire Iberian peninsula.