There are few places in the world where you can witness bullfighting and get the full experience better than Madrid, if there are any at all.
Many consider Madrid as the globe’s capital for this sport. This is not only because of its massive arena but also the spirit which its people embrace the tradition.
In the city, the bullfighting happens at La Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas del Espíritu Santo, better known as Las Ventas. This massive building was completed in 1929 in the neo-mudejan style, which gives it an ancient look although it was built in the previous century.
The arena took seven years to build, but was not used regularly until a decade after it was finished after the Spanish Civil War.
To this day the stadium still holds up to twenty-five thousand people and remains sixty meters wide. Las Ventas is easy to get to with its own stop on the Metro of the same name.
In Madrid, you can see bullfighting every Sunday at 7 O’clock P.M. from March to October and usually additional matches on public holidays. Tickets can be bought ahead of time or at the stadium on the day of.
Prices for these matches can vary from a few Euros to over a hundred based on your seat’s location.
However, the best time to see bullfighting in Madrid is during San Isidro, the festival devoted to the exciting sport. This begins in May and lasts until the middle of June. For twenty days in a row, there are bullfights every night.
Tickets for this festival must be bought immediately because they sell out fast. There is no atmosphere that can match the one at Las Ventas during San Isidro.
Bullfighting is an ancient tradition that was practiced by many different cultures. Some records claim that this sport or something similar goes back four millennia!
In modern times, bullfighting consists of three matadors, the men who fight the six bulls. Wearing full costume braided in gold, these matadors come into the stadium accompanied to music and the spectacle is underway.
Taking turns, the most experienced matador will go first until he has killed the bull.
The matador’s two best tools are his estoque (his sword) and his muleta (his red cape). Although many think it is the colour of the cloth that attracts the thousand pound beasts, it is actually only the fact that it is a large moving object. The matador will entice the crowd by his distance away from the horns of the bull and his composure in the face of possible death.
After tiring and weakening the animal, the matador will make the final stroke with his sword precisely in between the bull’s shoulder blades, killing it and becoming the victor.