The two major Plazas de Toros in Spain are Las Ventas in Madrid and La Maestranza in Sevilla. Even if you don't like bullfighting Las Ventas is an architectural monument to be visited.
That's what I did on a sunny morning of May. This is the period of the Feria di San Isidro, a mix of a religious feast on May 15th and a most important bullfighting festival.
This year from 10/05 - 02/06/2011. Eah day there are corridas.
Las Ventas is full booked during these 3 weeks but I could follow some corridas on the Spanish television. I observed that King Juan Carlos I assisted to some of them.
The budget for a corrida afternoon (two hours with 3 toreros and their teams, 6 bulls) approaches 180.000 € from what I read in the Spanish press.
The Spanish Television International (TVE Internacional) has a program about bullfighting called "Tendido Cero". Only for aficionados!
For a good bullfight you need a good matador and a "good" bull. The Spaniards say Toro Bravo, i.e. a brave bull. This year there were a number of critics in the Spanish press about the physical fitness and bravery of the bulls. Many were considered as "invalidos" and there were protests from the public. It seems there are problems in the ganaderias with breeding good fighting bulls. They are often very heavy, 550 kg and more, but on weak legs.
This year the number of corridas in Spain seems to be reduced by 20%, not because of the "antitaurinas" movements, but because the economical crisis has reduced the budgets of all the smaller towns who use to organize corridas at the occasion of the patron saint festivities. For towns with less than 10.000 inhabitants budgets of about 50.000 € became too heavy. (info from "El Pais").
WARNING: Bullfighting is an old tradition of Spain. Other countries have other traditions, sometimes not less cruel than bullfighting.
Tourists, who love animals, should, in my opinion, not go to a corrida. The bull is always killed after 20 minutes of fight and suffering; there is blood everywhere.
During the period of the Feria di San Isidro, a religious feast on May 15th, there is a most important bullfighting festival. This year from 10/05 - 02/06/2011. Eah day there are corridas.
Most tourists will never see a Corrida de Rejones. This is a horse mounted bullfight by a Rejoneador.
What is very special is the schooling or dressage of the horses, often from Andalusia, to approach in a gallop the attacking bull and avoid his horns. The rider has to demonstrate all his skill in controlling his horse and the bull. It’s a dangerous vaulting and pirouetting imposing a perfect coordination between rider and horse. These horses wear no caparison. All the art of rider and horse is in sidestepping.
The Rejoneo has like classic bullfighting three stages. First a stab of a long lance, then harpoon pointed sticks and finally killing with a sword shaped into a lance.
The Rejoneador uses at least 4 horses, perfectly schooled, one for each stage.
This makes Rejones much more expensive than bullfighting on foot. The number of Rejoneadors is small in comparison with the number of Matadors so that there are few Corridas de Rejones to be seen at Las Ventas or elsewhere.
During the period of the Feria di San Isidro, a religious feast on May 15th, there is a most important bullfighting festival. This year from 10/05 - 02/06/2011. Each day there are corridas but there are only 3 "rejon" on 21/05 with the very famous Hermoso de Mendoza, on 28/05 and 5/06. Las Ventas is full booked.
When visiting Las Ventas from the outside I could enter a courtyard where Picadores were training with their heavy horses.
With their lances they stab the muscles of the bull's neck. The public does not like a Picador who is lancing too much because the bull will loose its strength. Picadores are often whistled at.
Till 1928 the horses were not protected as now with a caparison. But even now horse and picador are sometimes lift up and turned over by the charge of the half ton bull!
There are broken ribs or legs when the picador falls under his horse.
If you're in any way attracted to the exciting, complicated and colourful world of bullfighting, you'll love this museum, located in the world's most important bullring - Plaza Monumental de las Ventas. It contains a fabulous collection of the "suits of lights" worn by the most famous bullfighters along with portraits of great bullfighters, like Belmonte and Vicente Pastor. You'll also see a selection of taurine memorabilia and the stuffed heads of brave bulls. Admission is free and i found it very interesting.
In my opinion, you can't visit Madrid without attending a bullfight at Las Ventas. At first glance, the arena interested me. Then ,the crisply dressed Spanards (who never seem to wilt in the heat) intriqued me. But when the matadores (bullfighters) gracefully filed out on the rings I was entranced! I had always heard it was an "art" but thought lightly of it -- now I know what they mean. While the actions towards the bull seemed cruel, the actions of the matadores almost counterbalanced it.
Word to the wise! Shell out the extra money (it's not much) for the shady seats! We were confused at first at the different seat pricing but someone kindly explained to us that the pricing was based on how close you were to the ring and how much you would be in the sun. Trust me, you will enjoy the experience much more if you have a shady seat -- unless you wear a VERY wide hat.
Tickets are sold at the Las Ventas bullring ticket offices from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. for fights on the following 5 days, and until 7 p.m. for the fight of the same day. Prices range from 1.50 to 100 euros.
A "toreador" does not exist in Spain.
The term was used for the famous opera "Carmen" from Bizet.
"Toreador, en garde, Toreador, Toreador!
Et songe bien, oui, songe en combattant
Qu'un oeil noir te regarde,
Et que l'amour t'attend,
Toreador, L'amour t'attend!"
The correct word is Torero or Matador or Espada.
Plaza de Toros "Las Ventas" is the most popular and important arena in Spain. You can see here corrida every sunday ( since March to October). The arena contains
50 000 people. Around the building there are some sculptures of the best torreros and some bunches and trees. The most importand corridas are in Mai during Fiesta in honour of St. Isidoro.
Some people thinks thats bullfight is torture others thinks that just fun time, if you are second group and its summer time in Madrid just go Sunday afternoon see some bulls, some brave(or crazy) guys and blood(from the bulls).
price: 4 euros up 100 euros, the distance and place are that determine how much you need to pay. if you dont care about sun, with 12 euros you can find nice place to seat.
just important tip: you cant go to restroom or back to your seat between the bullfight, if happen , you must wait the fight finish.
Madrid has the largest bullfighting arena in the world, called Las Ventas. Bullfighting is usually not seen anywhere else than Spain, so it's probably a good thing to see while there. Basically, it consists of a "fight" between a bull and a man, the torero. The bull enters the ring and a group of people start to tire him. Then a lancer (picador) mounted on a horse stabs the bull on the neck, so he starts to lose some blood. Then there are three flagmen (banderilleros) who plant two barbed sticks (called banderillas) on the bull's flanks. After all these, the torero enters the ring with a red cape and a sword. After making some passes at the bull, he finally kills him.
All in all, it's a nice show, despite of the fact that an animal is being killed. I found that it's better to go with a local, or with someone who can explain what's going on at each moment.
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 beautiful arena was erected in 1929. It is used for bullfighting (corridas) during the period May - October.
In September and October the arena is used for rock-concerts.
When flags are waving in the flaggstaff there is bullfighting that day.
Beside there is the Museo Taurino with exposition of memories of great toreadores and bulls.
I have put some pictures from a bullfighting in the t-logs (part1 and part2) with short explaination of the steps.
I went to the bullfight in Madrid with mixed feelings and left in a state of near-shock. I thought maybe I'd go to see it for the cultural angle: the pageantry, the people-watching... And if things got too much for me, we could leave. I guess it was a bad idea for me because I get more upset seeing animals get hurt than seeing people get hurt. Anyway, our seats were far from the aisle and the place was packed. I suppose we could have elbowed our way out, but it didn't seem like the right thing to do. We stayed until the bitter end. 6 bulls died, and one person was seriously injured. I don't understand any of it.
Bullfighting........... well we just wanted to see the arena, which can hold 22.000 people !!! Bad luck for us, the only way to see the arena is to buy a ticket for a fight and there wasn't one when we were there.
You can visit the free museum next to it, Museo Taurino, where you can see the history of the bullfights, the clothes, ...
All information is in Spanish AND English.
Ok, so I'm a little wussie and I dont want to see any animals die. If you are like me then go see bull jumping/dodging! It is awsome! These guys (a little wacko) get out in front of the bulls and actually wait for them to get within inches before they lean or dodge out of the way! The crowd goes nutz! The best is when one of the member of the team has a bull chase him, then another runs towards the bull and jumps over him! COOL!!! Much better to tease the bull than to kill it!
I have to go back this summer, so maybe I will go see a bullfight, but we will see!
Just remember to bring a cushion for your butt cause you all sit on concrete steps and water. Even if it is at night it is HOT! If you dont like noise, either DONT GO or bring earplugs! You have to go with friends just as nutz as you though! Makes for a great time to go out before, have a few drinks and then head for the area!