This is not everyone's cup of tea so to speak however bullfighting is to Spain what beer is to Germany. The event starts with the main players parading around the ring before the President gives the go ahead to start. The bull enters and the act is played out until the bull is dragged out by a tractor. If the crowd is not pleased with the performance of the bull then they wave green flags at the President who must wave a green flag himself to have the current bull replaced. At the end of the series of fights the players parade around again and either get cheers or abuse (including the throwing of cushions which is the biggest insult as it has been resting against the spectators bottom!). The fight I went to had King Juan Carlos attending. The cost is approx 500 pesos for the cheaper seats but you can pay 6 times that (like I did) if you buy your ticket from a local taxi driver....... When I got back to my hotel room at about 2am there were highlights of the bullfight I had attended on TV!!
Even if you are not sure whether you like it or not (like me), you should definitely take the chance and visit the sunday bullfights if you are in Madrid from spring to early autumn - during the season when they take place.
It's a really weird spectacle - and what was most suprising is that the majority of the audience were actually not toursits, as I would have thought, but madrilenos themselves. Moreover, it's a kind of family outing for some of them - right in front of me the family had brought huge bags full of sandwiches, water, wine, etc and they actually brought children to watch the bullfight.
A bit of advice - be sure to take something warm and comfy to sit on - the seats are actually stone steps, and though they hand out the pillows at the entrance, it's better to have something in case they run out or charge money for them.
The bullfight museum at Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas is one of the capital’s less well known. Even during the afternoons or weekends (when the museum is, inexplicably, closed) Las Ventas is worth a visit just to check out the magnificent architecture of the world’s premier bullring, but the museum itself provides a unique insight into this cruel, passionate and intensely Spanish ‘art-form.’ Love it or hate it, this museum proves that there is far more to bullfighting than meets the eye.
Bullfighting, most people are against it, and still there's that piece of curiosity behind it.
The arena in Madrid is Las Ventas and is one of the largest bullfight Arena's in the world. Not mention a very nice looking building as well. Ticketprices vary from under €5,- to as much as you want to pay.
Shows last for a few hours and about 6 bulls will be killed. Though it's certainly not funny to see bulls getting killed (there's blood involved), it still is intriguing to experience this Spanish tradition.
Madrid has the largest bullfighting arena in Spain. We booked our tickets on the internet beforehand www.lasv-entas.com for E17.50 each (essential when we were there in June) and found the window to collect them quite easily.
We expected to see matadors but were lucky enough to have booked to see a rejoneo - the bullfighters are on horse back and the horse manoevres around sideways just out of the bulls reach. The bullfighter has to lean down to place the knife.
Yes, the bull dying is tragic but you realise the skill of the bullfighter. If the crowd thinks he has done well, they wave white hankerchiefs to indicate their approval to the president of the area who may then award the prize(s) - ears or the tail - to the fighter.
This is certainly NOT for the light-hearted as all bulls are killed but it didn't do anything to me. I even enjoyed all the colorfull bullfighters costumes and how gracefully they did their moves - almost like a ballet!
Muleta A small red cloth stretched over a stick (Palo)
Capote The red cape
Paseillo The parade of fighters at the beginning
Corrida A Bullfighting show
Espada The matador's sword also called the ESTOQUE
Matador The top bullfighter
Novilladas Beginners fights
Rejoneadores Horse-mounted fighters
Toril Enclosure for the bulls
Picador Fighter to weaken the bull
Banderillas Barbed darts on coloured shafts placed into the bull's shoulders
Puntilla A dagger that is stabbed into the base of the bull's skull
Puerta grande The main door to the arena
Gradas Highest seats at the back of the ring (cheapest seats)
Barreras Front seats
Sol/Sombra Sun/Shade - the choice as to where you sit
Plaza de Toros Bullring
This is the entrance to the bullfight-arena.
==> Find more pictures of the corridas in my travelogue - I think there were at least 8 different ones.
NOTICE: This doesn't mean I fully support bullfights as I know how much bulls suffers beforehands (I wont go into that here but several articles can be found on the cruelty done to these animals on the internet) but one has to keep in mind that this is part of Spanish heritage and has to be considered as such! Beside, the bull is killed fairly quickly when entering the arena.
Ok, I know some people have a hard time with this one, but the truth is that bullfights are a very traditional part of Spanish culture, and opposed to popular belief, the bulls get a LOT of respect from the toreros and the audience. Certainly, these bulls are not worse of than the millions of cows brought to slaughter each day; rather the opposite.
Going to a bullfight will you a true sense of Spanish culture not only because what is going on in the arena, but also what's going on in the stands. This is a place where you will see regular Spanish people coming after a day at work. It is not very expensive, and I definitely think it is something to experience! (well, maybe unless you're a vegetarian of course!)
This was great! It was near the end of my trip when the season began. SIx bulls charged in and six bulls were dragged out.
People like to say this is cruel, but these bulls get treated a lot better than cows for their hamburger and steak. They don't waste the flesh either. There is a lot of pagentry and ritual involed. It's real exciting, but you do understand, that A) this is life and death and it can be gruesome B) while there is real danger, the bull is at a severe disadvantage and C) the chances are slim to none that the bull will leave on it's on terms
Bullfighting has deep roots in the Spanish tradition and it is the most picturesque spectacle you can attend in Spain. For many people it is exciting but others may find it disgusting.
Las corridas (bullfights) are held in Las Ventas mostly on Sundays. Try to get tickets for the lowest possible row in Sombra (shadow). Not only because of the heat but due to the fact that most of the corrida occurs close to that area.The official website is www.las-ventas.com but there are resale opportunities in the surroundings of the bullring.
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