Bullfighting is the most traditional of Spanish Fiestas. The Spanish people consider them art forms which are intimately linked with their country’s history, art and culture. Pressure groups attempt to lobby against bullfighting yet the King of Spain himself has allegedly stated that the day the EU bans bullfighting is the day Spain leaves the EU.
Bullfighting can be traced back to ancient days. They were popular spectacles in ancient Rome, but it was in the Iberian Peninsula that these contests were fully developed by the Moors from North Africa who overran Andalucia in AD 711. Bullfighting developed into a ritualistic occasion observed in connection with feast days, on which the conquering Moors, mounted on highly trained horses, confronted and killed the bulls.
Today bullfighting is big business in Spain with the top matadores earning comparable salaries to the nation’s top soccer stars and rock idols.
A Spanish bullfighting arena is called the Plaza de Toros. All major Spanish cities have impressive bullrings but probably the most outstanding are those in Madrid, Seville, and Ronda.
La Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas was built in 1929 and was first used in 1931. It is the most important bullring in the world with a capacity of 25,000. Every seat is taken every evening during the world renowned San Isidro Bullfighting festival in June.
Building of the Maestranza Bullring in Seville began in 1758 making it Spain’s oldest Plaza de Toros. The origin of modern day bullfighting on foot (rather than horseback) can be traced back to here and Ronda. It is one of the most charming bullrings in the country and although its capacity is only 12,500, it attracts the top bullfighters. You can see bullfights in Seville from April (during Seville’s Feria de Abril) through to October. Check the bullfight calendar as they don’t take place every weekend.
The Ronda bullring was built in 1785 and is one of the oldest and most beautiful in Spain. Previously it had been Philip II’s centre for horsemanship training (Real Maestranza de Caballeria). Bulls were used in this training and when one day an aristocrat fell from his horse one Francisco Romero came to his help by using his hat to distract it.
The hat was replaced by a cape and modern day bullfighting was born. Romero’s grandson, Pedro Romero, developed all the passes and moves which to this day are seen at a bullfight. He retired in his eighties after killing more than 5,600 bulls without ever being hurt. Thus Ronda is considered the home of bullfighting.
You can visit the bullring in Ronda which houses a small bullfighting museum. The bullfighting season in Ronda is from April to October though fights are quite infrequent. Check with the tourist office next to the bullring.
History of Bullfighting
Read about the development of bull fighting from ancient times ….
Bullfighting in Madrid
Madrid’s bullring, Las Ventas is the world’s top venue for bullfighting ….
Bullfighting in Seville
Calendar of bullfights in Seville including the April Fair ….
Bullfight Tickets in Spain
Information on bullfight tickets in Spain
The Great Manolete
Of all the bullfighters who have died in bullfights, Manolete was the greatest ….
Please note that this website does not condone bullfighting. We provide the information in this section as it is an appropriate subject for a website providing information on travel in Spain and Spanish culture.