Monument to the most famous pilgrim to Santiago de Compostela was erected in Pamplona in 1993. That pilgrim is San Francisco de Assisi who committed his pilgrimage in 1212. San Francisco is shown here preaching to wolf and to pigeon landed at his head. This is just the very beautiful monument in the beautiful city.
This year the 7th encierro on Saturday morning 13/07 has been dramatic with 23 injured.
When entering the narrow entrance of the arena the crowd of runners preceding the toros could not enter and did fall over each other building up a human wall.
The toros and cabestros (ox) leading the manada stranded on this human wall and trampled some of the riders. Twenty three people were injured, some were unconscious. It's the first time such dramatic incident happened. It seems that the door leading to the arena was partially closed and was the origin of this incident.
The photo is from the web.
In the narrow streets and alleys leading away from the Plaza are the bodegas where the Pamplonians go for a drink and a chat when the tourists are out "en masse". At the top of the calle de Curia is the 15th c Cathedral of Pamplona with its 13th c cloister. In the other direction lies St Nicholas' church, built in the 12th c and also used as a military post with its square watchtower.
Further on the town hall building, although the facade dates from 1760, has been rebuilt in 1951.
The Plaza del Castillo is the nerve centre of Pamplona surrounded by 18th c buildings and is where the people of Pamplona meet for a chat or a drink or just a stroll at the weekends. The 1932 bandstand also serves as a background and setting for numerous wedding photos. Bullfights were also held here until 160 years ago. Also along one side is the "Café Iruna", made famous by Ernest Hemingways frequent visits to Pamplona (9) and of course to the café.
Walking down avenida de Roncevalles, not far from the Plaza de Toros is the superb bronze monument of the Encierro (running of the bulls) created by Rafael Huerta in 1994. One can almost feel the pounding of hooves and the breath of the animals on the runners. Following down the av. Carlos III, just before Plaza del Castillo is the Theatre Gayarre. Built in 1932 and named after a famous tenor. This piece of modern (street) art was hanging from the balcony.
When for the first time I saw the encierro of San Fermin I was surprised when the door of the coral opened to see first big bulls with brown head and beige skin and wearing a bell around their neck!
They are six of them and called Cabestros.
In fact they are ox from the races Berrenda or Morucha breed and trained to facilitate the conduct of fighting bulls in the farms, encierros and arenas. Castrated males of both races can weigh up to 800 kilos and have strong and large horns.
They are not aggressive like the Toros (fighting bulls) but when participating to the encierro it is better not to fall under them. At Pamplona the cabestros run close with the toros and as fast. When a toro after the run doesn't want to enter the coral they lead him inside.
The other six are the fighting bulls "Toros de Lidia" or "Toro bravo" which are somewhat shorter on legs and weigh about 500 kg. Color varies from grey to black or light brown to dark brown. Their skin is marked with the emblem of the Ganaderia (breeder) and a number.
The photo is that from a toro from the famous Ganaderia del Marqués de Domecq.
Behind the "manada" (herd) there are "pastores" guardians dressed in green and wearing a long stick to avoid that bulls would turn back instead of running to the plaza de toros.
Participants to the enciero are only allowed to have in hands for their defense (!) a rolled newspaper. These are the traditions of Pamplona encierros.
Warning: This factual info was given only to inform tourists and does not mean that the author is a pro or anti-taurino!
(photos from Wikipedia).
VT member ROADQUILL quite appropriately mentioned here that "REJONES" equestrian bullfighting happens only on the first day (6/07/12) of the San Fermines. There are indeed few Rejoneador (horse mounted bullfighters) in Spain. Even at the most famous San Isidro fiesta in May at Las Ventas, Madrid, there are only three Rejones during the whole month and Las Ventas is full booked long time in advance.
A Corrida de Rejones is indeed very special because of 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 3 horses, perfectly schooled, one for each stage.
This makes Rejones much more expensive than bullfighting on foot. The number of Rejoneadors is very small in comparison with the number of Matadors so that there are few Corridas de Rejones to be seen in Spain.
Here is the program of the rejones on 6/07/2012 in the Plaza de Toros of Pamplona at 18.30 h:
6 toros from ganadería (breeder) de San Pelayo "cuyas defensas están despuntadas" (= whose defenses are blunt).
Rejoneadores: Pablo Hermoso De Mendoza, Sergio Galán and Roberto Armendáriz.
Hermoso De Mendoza is the best Rejoneador from what I know (photos from Wikipedia).
Also the best Rejoneador can have a problem even with a well trained horse in the arena.
On 6/07/21012 at Pamplona Pablo Hermoso de Mendoza's horse "Disparate" was run over by a bull. No injuries for the horse and rejoneador. Usual sad end for the toro bravo.
Prices: from 22 € to 128 €/seat.
Reservation of tickets is apparently not possible; see http://www.feriadeltoro.com/precios.htm
Here what they write:
"TAQUILLA / TXARTELDEGIA / TICKET OFFICE
El día anterior a cada espectáculo se ponen a la venta 1.950 entradas en las Taquillas de la Plaza de Toros.
No se admiten reservas de localidades.
Not reserves can tickets for the bullfights. 90% of tickets have been sold for years. The day previous to each bullfight 1,950 tickets in ticket office are sold but they are not possible to be reserved." (sic).
This morning 7th July I looked at the first bull run of 2012 on the Spanish TVE-international.
Good start for the usual 6 cabestros (oxes) leading the manada (same word as in French that's why I understand a bit of Spanish) and 6 toros (5 black and 1 brown) who made the run to the plaza de toros in 2'53"; a good time. There was also a first "cornada" = an injury by a bullhorn at a leg. The victim is said to be a man from Pamplona 73 years old! (When I wrote I was feeling a bit old for the encierro!). Many participants got some injuries just by falling on the street. Six were admitted at the hospital.
As the TV with several cameras shows most incidents one could see a runner hit near the shoulder by the horn of a toro. His shirt was transpierced so that the victim was dragged more than 50 m on the street till the entrance of the arena!
The TVE uses to invite some victim of a former encierrro. This time it was a young man who had fallen and lost his trousers pierced by the horn of the bull. To-day it sounded funny but the guy had been in hospital for several weeks with a number of fractures.
On the second day the toros were from the famous Miura Ganaderia (breed) and they were up to their reputation. TV and press mentioned the very fast solo run in front of the group of the toro called "Navajito" who made the run in only 2,29 minutes that is at 20,5 Km/h!
Behind a toro hit participants keeping themselves close to the houses. One got a horn in his face and the point (piton) at a few cm of his eye! San Fermin must have protected him and others because only one runner ended at hospital with light injuries.
(Photo from Wikipedia.)
You don't have to go to Pamplona to see the encierros i.e. the bulls running through the streets of Pamplona with thousands of men and also woman dressed in white and red.
The fiesta starts on 6th July and from 7 to 14th of July you can look at the encierro every morning at 08.00 am (local time) on the international Spanish TV.
The bull run starts at the corral in Calle Santo Domingo when the clock on the church of San Saturnino strikes eight o"clock in the morning. After the launching of two rockets, the bulls charge over 825 meters, the distance between the corral and the bullring. The run usually lasts about 3 minutes.
There are several TV cameras posted on that distance and they show all the run and repeat the incidents. Everything is commented and at the end the medical director of the hospital gives a survey of all injuries (of course in Spanish) so that the sequence last about twenty minutes.
(Photo from Wikipedia).
Located in the old town area on Santo Domingo (near the start of the famous bull run) is an informative Museo Navarra. Open Wednesday through Saturday from 9:30 until 7 (closed at midday) and costs 2e to enter. The museum focuses on the regional historical, archeological and art of the local Navarra state. The museum also hosts exhibitions. It is open for during most of the St. Fermin Festival.
The local interest in bullfighting and love of equestrian expertise is combined in the astonishing skills exhibited in El Rejoneo. The rider and horse as one, keeping deftly inches away from the horns of the bull. Often teasing the bull. As the bull charged, the horse would fake one way and sometimes pull away the other direction in a 360 degree turn. Unfortunately, the bull comes to a grisly end. during the San Fermin Festival, this only occurs on the first night, July 6.
I am not sure what it is like down by the bull ring for the run, because I was on the first part of the course, but the streets seem a little wider. i would not get caught running into the ring with the bulls it is to narrow, if you want to go into the ring just do it before the bulls get there as many (100's) do, you may get booed by the crowd though.
I took a cab and got downtown early around 6:30am, the cab let me off by the bull ring, from there you can just follow the fences down the street and stop where ever you think would be a good spot. I walked up to the plaza constitutional and basicaly waited around until the 8am start. Make sure you have nothing with you, keep your camera and phone in your pocket or they will kick you off the course, bring it out last second if you want after the bulls have been released. My plan was just to hang out near the fence and wait for the bulls to run by and then run after them, that did not work as the police made you stand away from the fence. So I got out in the middle and watched them come up the street from where they started. The crowd started to move/run very early (100 yards away), as the bulls got closer (50ft) I started to run and look for a place to hide and I got trapped in a huge traffic jam of people, I could not move at all. all I could think of was if the bull runs through this group of people it will be bad. But the bulls ran right by us, I could of reached out and touched them. As the last one went by I broke loose and started to run after them down the street to the corner of death, I was about 30 ft behind the last one when I heard this bell behind me(all the bulls wear bells) I turned around to see a bull on my ass so I went to the side and let the bull go by, we were 50 ft from the corner of death(dont ever run there), and they closed the gate at the corner of death too early so the bull could not get through, so it turned around and started to run back up the street. It took them about 20 seconds to open the gate (as there were 2 injured people there) and there was a handler that turned the bull and ran it through the gate and up towards the bull ring. about 1 minute later they ran 3 cows with bells down the street just in case there was a loose bull this would get him to follow I guess. This was July 13th 2010.
My 4 year old son loved going on all the rides, it is open during the day and at night, there are a lot of places to eat, games to play and people to watch. Also a big fireworks show at night too. A don't miss for the kids.
After the bulls (all have bells around neck) leave the holding pen this is the narrow street they run up past the shrine to the plaza contutional (about 300 yards). People say you are crazy to run here but the bulls seemed to stay in line in ths area. Good luck.