Like it or loath it, the bull ring is a Spanish institution. Dating back hundreds of years, millions of Spaniards have taken part, in one way or another, in the time honoured tradition of the la corrida (bull fight).
Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla (bit of a mouthful eh?)
- Its is the oldest working bull ring in the world and the build took 120 years to complete.
- It is one of only 4 private bull rings in Spain.
- The ring itself is not completely circular and its stands as the only oval bullring in the world.
As my tour guide Lauren is helpfully pointing out, there a five gates in to the ring itself and each one serves its own purpose.
- The first gate is the one from which the matador enters the ring.
- Gate two is where the bull enters the ring.
- Gate three is the infirmary, which, at best, is rarely used.
- Gate four is where the bull is dragged to exit the ring after the fight.
- Gate five is the Prince's Gate, situated under the Royal Box, through which a matador with three trophies or more can enter. The 'trophies' that are presented after a successful fight are either the ears or the tails of the conquered bull.
Seat prices can vary from 120€ for a top price ticket to 25€ for the cheapest tier. The prices don't just depend on how far away from the ring you are sat but also if you are sat in the shade or the glare of the sun - it is a very precise art!
Once you've left the ring, there are various small exhibits to look at. The first being of art of la corrida (bull fight), where you can see various colourful representations of the long celebrated tradition. The statue below is the artists model for its larger counterpart which stands imposingly at the front of the bullring. The numbers indicated how to put together the pieces of the statue itself when it was erected piece by piece in its current home.
The cavalry were challenged to get a lance through the loop held by the bird.
False heads were also used for lance target practice.
Although these games proved to be popular war training apparatus and were used many times in the square in front of Seville's fame cathedral, the tradition of la corrida lived on. Sorry Mr French Guy!
These beautiful capes are those that the matador uses in the ring. The famed symbol of la corrida! The embellished one at the top is used only for presentation and the more plain one folded below is used for the fight itself. It is a common myth that bulls are enraged by the colour red as they are, in fact, colour blind (you heard it here first!). It is the movement of the cape itself that winds them up!
My visit to the Plaza de Toros was by far my favourite part of last week's Seville Saturday. Our guide, Lauren, was very informative and the visit taught me a lot about a subject that I previously knew very little about.
La Plaza de Toros
Paseo de Cristóbal Colón 12
Visits are guided only.
Tours run approximately every 20 minutes in various languages including English and French.
Entrance fee: Adults 7€
Children aged 7 -11: 3€
Under 7's go free.