Many large or small towns in Spain have a Plaza de Torros or arena for bullfights but Chinchon has one in the very old way that means the Plaza Mayor itself.
It is called the "Royal Bullring of Chinchon".
The bullfighting tradition in Chinchon goes back for several centuries.
The season starts in July to end in October. During that period the sand, the barriers, the galleries remain on the square. When there are no bull fights people park their car on the arena's sand.
As a "corrida" is an expensive organisation the owners and tenants of houses facing the square have to pay their part towards the cost of the fight. Visitors and guests must pay access to balconies. As usual in Spain the taurine festivals are held at the same time as the religious festivals. The number of bullfights in Chinchon is very limited; only a few days per year, this is not to compare with the "Las Ventas" arena of Madrid.
The first 15th century castle belonged to the Cabrera family. Totally different from the present one it was damaged during a popular uprising in 1521.
Later the remains were demolished and a new castle was build at the end of the 16th c. by Count Diego de Cabrera on the same site using materials taken from the old castle.
In 1705 it suffered from the Wars of Succession.
The worst came in 1808 during the three day siege of Chinchón by the French who set fire to the castle. From then onwards, a part of its materials were used in repairing roads, fences and houses.
The castle can not be visited. Actually it looks better from far away than at close distance.
As the castle stands on the highest southern point of the town, the views from the parking are extending very far away as far as the town of Aranjuez.
The church of Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion overlooking the Plaza Mayor was build around 1600 but sacked and burned by Napoleonic troops in 1808.
During the War of Independence, four French soldiers were killed in Chinchon. As retaliation the French troops sacked and set fire to the town and killed nearly one hundred inhabitants.
The painter Goya, who was often staying in Chinchon, was a direct witness of the massacre.
The current church was completed in 1828 and is a blend of gothic, plateresque, renaissance and baroque styles.
As the church was closed on the time of our visit we could not see the magnificent painting of La Asunción de la Virgen, painted by Goya whose brother was priest in Chinchon.
Chinchon is known for her surprising "Plaza Mayor" of irregular shape surrounded with houses three stores high on arches with wooden balconies. The first houses were built in 15th century.
The Plaza Mayor shaped as a basin is dominated by the church of Our Lady of the Assumption situated on a height in border of the place.
Felipe V was proclaimed king on this square in 1706. Chinchon distinguished herself by her constant support to the Spanish monarchy and by a history much richer than her smallness and her provincial quietness shows.
It was the countess of Chinchon who in Peru, where her husband was a viceroy, was a victim of strong fevers and was treated with the extract of bark, the quinine. She had quinine distributed in big quantities as treatment for malaria. The generic name of quinine is therefore "Cinchona".
El Castillo de los Condes (the Counts' Castle) was built at the end of the 17th century and destroyed after an attack of los Comuneros in 1.520. The castle of nowadays was built over the remains of the former one.
Torre del Reloj (Clock Tower).
"Joined at one time to the old Church of Our Lady of Grace in the 15th century, Chinchón’s tower was restored a long time after the French troops pillaged and sacked the town, destroying it. During this restoration, the church was totally ignored and over time it was eventually buried. From this comes the saying : "Chinchón has a tower without a church and a church without a tower".
This excerpt was taken from the offical website, I hope you forgive me; thanks.
This theatre was built in 1.891 over the remains of the Palace of the Counts and it was the palace where Lope de Vega wrote "El Blasón de los Chaves de Villalba" (The coat of arms of Chaves of Villalba)", so, it was decided to name this palace after this famous spanish writer.
The Plaza Mayor (Main Square) is a medieval square, and was built in the 15th century, being finally completed in the 17th century.
Many activities have been (and are) held in the square:Royal festivals, proclamations, traveling theater groups, games, bullfights, executions, eucharistic plays, religious, political and military acts, cinema sets and markets.
Do you remember the movie "Around the world in 80 days"? (based upon the novel by Julius Verne); the bullfight was shot here.
According to the Official website of Chinchón, "it is considered, without any exaggeration, to be one of the most beautiful squares in the world because of its balance and proportions". Decide by yourself.
Plaza Mayor is located in the "center" of the town. It's one of the most interesting places, architecture wise, I've seen. So simple, yet with so much character.
The square is circular and with buildings with balconies. This is the place to see bull fighting, and the weekend before we were there they had some events related to this. The day we visited, there was a market on the square.
You get the best view of the plaza, as a whole, from one of the hills (like on my intro page).
The tourist information office will help you out with questions about the sites, where to eat, etc. The building itself is pretty and has nice paintings on the walls, featuring typical things from Chinchón.
A classical Mediaeval square of popular architecture, an irregular shaped (roughly circular) plaza, surrounded by a simple, clear, ordered and hierarchical structure formed by a series of three-storey buildings, with flat galleries and 234 wooden balconies, called "claros", supported by upright feet with shoes.
It’s a really beautiful spot: beautiful sight of this harmonic square (it reminds me a very similar plaza, in Lucca, Italy) surrounded by shaded galleries and restaurant where madrilenos love to go because of the rich and varied recipes.
This square has been used in the past for countless activities: royal fiestas, proclamations, plays, bullfighting on horseback, bullfights, executions, mystery plays, religious, political and military acts, films and many others. Nowadays it’s still occasionally used for corridas (bullfights) - even if there is a big streetlamp just in the middle of the square - but it’s main destination is….parking lot!
Believe it or not, when you arrive in the village and step towards Plaza Mayor youe expectation si to visit a fascinating, calm, charming place. The plaza itself is really beautiful, but all those cars parked on the sand really destroy every magic!
Upon arrival in Chinchon we were surprised to see along the avenue Generalisimo, where stands the Parador, strong wooden barriers leading to the Plaza Mayor.
There is a tradition in Chinchon, similar to the one of Pamplona (ref. my tip), to have bulls running in the street towards the Plaza. This is called "encierro".
The bulls "torros" are followed by shepherds and helpers and led by six "cabestros" oxes. The distance is only about 300 m, so let's consider it as a mini Pamplona. Young amateurs are then allowed to "fight" one of the bulls inside the ring
These encierro's happen during the fiestas of the Virgin at mid-August.
As we were in Chinchon en September we didn't see them but the barriers were still on the street.
Chinchon est connue pour son étonnante "Plaza Mayor" de forme irrégulière entourée de maisons sur arcades de trois étages aux balcons de bois. Les premières maisons furent construites au XV° siècle.
La cuvette de la Plaza Mayor est dominée par l'église de Notre Dame de l’Assomption située sur une hauteur en bordure de la place.
Philipe V fut proclamé roi sur sa Plaza Mayor en 1706. Chinchon s'est distinguée par son adhésion constante à la monarchie et par une histoire bien plus riche que sa petitesse et son calme provincial ne laissent apparaître. Ce fut une comtesse de Chinchon qui au Pérou, où son époux était vice-roi, fut victime de fortes fièvres et fut soignée avec de l'extrait d'écorce, la quinine, qu'elle fit distribuer en grandes quantités. Le nom générique de la quinine est "Cinchona".
Ce qui nous étonna le plus lors de notre visite en septembre 2005 c'est la transformation de cette place en arène pour corridas depuis 1863! Lors des périodes de festivités, les tribunes, parois en bois, sable restent en place et les voitures se garent dans l'arène. En plus des corridas sur la plaza Mayor, Chinchon connaît aussi des courses de taureaux (encierros) dans les rues de la ville. C'est Pampelune en plus petit.
Plusieurs maisons de la place sont des restaurants. Il est très agréable de manger aux balcons.
Notre préférence allait au restaurant Iberia (excellentes viandes). Eviter les week-ends ou Chinchon est envahie par les Madrilènes qui viennent s'y dépayser.
A quelques centaines de mètres de la place se trouvent les ruines de l'ancien château fort des comtes de Chinchon (Castillo de los Condes). De l'esplanade on a une vue qui porte à des dizaines de Km. On peut distinguer Aranjuez dans la verte vallée du Tage.
Pay atention to the houses that surround the main circus: they have beautiful ancient balconies made of wood. There you can find bird cages, plant pots, ancient lanterns...
Presta atención a las casas que rodean la plaza principal: tienen hermosos balcones antiguos de madera tallada.En ellos podrás encontrar jaulas, macetas, faroles...
In the house with this sign the King Felipe V did sleep the night 25 Februar 1706, when he was passing Chinchón.
The house has been preserved since.
Picture of house, see t-log.