Along the Natchez Trace

Friday, February 15, 2013

El Toro

Seville has the oldest bullring in Spain.  Construction began in 1786 and was finally completed in 1881.   This bullring is still used today,  and in April, during the Sevilla Faria, the season will begin.   Even if you never go to a bullfight (or never want to), the museum in the lower part of the building is quite interesting.
As you near the site you can see the architecture... and can imagine how difficult such a large structure was built back in the 18th century.
I'm standing across the street from the bullring and still can't get it all in one photo.

There are various statues of famous matadors... 
They are all along the street in front of the bullring.

This statue is of a famous contessa...
In the museum inside, there is a model of this statue.

We purchased our tickets to enter... (7 euros each - about $18)
and waited about 20 minutes until the next tour.

Here, we are on the shady side of the arena... 
The tickets (to an event) are more expensive for this side....  I haven't checked into how much a ticket would cost.  I don't think a bullfight is something I really want to go to.

Looking around the arena, you can see how large it really is... 
This bullring is more of an oval than a circle, making it somewhat unusual for this sport.
It was in this bullring that the sport changed from the picadors being on horseback  to the toreadors being on foot to slay the bull.

High up on this side is the "presidents box" 
The best seat in the house!
The dignitaries attending sit here.  And the highest official will determine how the matador will be awarded...
One ear, two ears...  or for an outstanding performance, both ears and the tail. (of the slain bull)
(If the bull wins, I wonder what parts he gets ;-)

There is a certain order to the event...  the toreadors and the matadors are dressed traditionally.   The program of the day would be for 3 matadors to fight 6 bulls in 2.5 hours.  So there would be 6 "fights" per event.
Bill & I have gone to "bloodless" bullfights in Texas (see my blog of January, 2012) and there learned about the precise order of the fight.  There is a certain "ballet" .... almost a dance, between the matador and the bull.  In Texas the bull is not injured...  here the bull is slain... in both cases, the matador can be seriously injured or killed.

After viewing the arena, our tour guide took us down to the lower level, that now houses the museum.... 
Walking through the hallways..
Even this was quite an adventure...  walking through these archways of so long ago.

There is artwork of all kinds (paintings, sculptures, diaramas etc) depicting all aspects of this sport..  
One wing of the art gallery

Paintings of famous matadors... 

This is the 18th and 19th Century Room
You can see that there was a lot of "pomp and circumstance" before the event.

 Here's our tour guide...
She explained (first in Spanish, then in English) about the lances, the picadors, and other aspects of the sport.

 These are some of the clothes that were worn...

The suit on the left was worn by a boy of only 14 years old.  He began training at age 9 and fought his first bull at age 14.  He died at age 25 after being gored by a bull.  
The suits and cape on the right are examples of how elegant and opulent the costumes are.  Very, very expensive!
The cut of the clothing, even the color of the socks and shape of the hat are all part of the tradition. 
When you see these toreadors in the bullring they are quite elegant and beautiful to look at. 
I've used the words "matador" and toreador" interchangeably, but actually, a person is a matador until he kills the bull...  then he becomes the toreador.  The picador is the person on horseback.

These are some of the bulls that were killed here. 
 Their heritage is listed...  and the history of the successful toreador. 

Does this look like a cow?
It is...  it's the mother of the bull that killed that famous toreado.  
These Spanish are really big on Moms!
(it's all about family!) 

This chapel is where the toreadors prayed before going into the ring.  I'd probably still be in there long after everyone went home if I had to go into a bull ring...  
 It's quite grand....  

This area is where the bulls are kept prior to going into the ring.
It's all quite clean and nicely painted now.

Across from that area is where the horse stalls are. 
The horses were used early on but that changed to the matador being on foot in later years.

 As we were leaving, we looked at some of the posters from the past...

Some places in Spain are trying to ban bullfights.  I think it would be hard to stop a tradition that is this old.  I'm a guest here so I won't offer an opinion one way or the other ;-0

The tour was quite informational and the area is so full of history...  it's really a "must see" if you're in Sevilla.

That's All For today!


  1. Wow a very interesting post and photo's Thank you

  2. beautiful arena ... I've only been to one bullfight ~ it was in old Mexico and I was absolutely traumatized ... definitely not bloodless there. I had to leave ~ almost throwing up. It is indeed steeped in tradition but one I can't and don't want to ever witness again.

    LOved the chocolates and rose Bill delivered! whatta guy ;)

  3. Awesome tour! I would not want to attend either, but it's so much the culture there!

  4. When I was young, the bullfights were shown on TV.
    I would never want to see one (live or on TV again).

  5. Saw a bullfight one time. The 'dance' of the matador and the bull was interesting and beautiful until the end. The ending was not pleasant...the crowd was booing the matador. Would not go again.

  6. Cool posters, love the president's box!

  7. The architecture is amazing. I've often wondered how some of these beautiful old buildings were constructed without modern tools and materials. The quality of work seems superior in some ways to our modern buildings. Interesting tour, but I still feel sorry for the bull!!