to do in Seville Spain - The Maestranza Bullring by Juan Navarro
|Seville's "Maestranza" Bullring
is to the art of bullfighting what the "La Scala" in Milan is to opera.
Both venues are considered the most prestigious and emblematic settings
in which to perform.
present Maestranza bullring has its origins in medieval times, when brotherhoods
by the same name dedicated themselves to horse-breeding and the equestrian
arts. Among some of the spectacles performed by the nobility were bullfights
When bullfighting on foot
became popular with the working classes in the late 18th Century, work
on Seville's Maestranza Bullring began and continued for over a century.
Its capacity for 12,500 spectators
does not make it the largest bullring in the world, but many consider it
to be the most beautiful. The distinctive neo-Classical gleaming white
façade with its clean geometric lines and Roman arches outlined
in yellow ochre, its elaborately fashioned "Prince's Gate" (which every
matador dreams of exiting triumphantly on the shoulders of the crowd),
the golden sand inside the ring, all conspire to make the Maestranza a
monumental "plaza de toros" that has given wing to legend, film and theater.
Although the art or ritual
of bullfighting might not be fully appreciated by much of the non-Hispanic
world, we find evidence of the importance of the horned beast or bovine,
considered the supreme god of nature, throughout all cultures of the world.
The cave paintings of Altamira in northern Spain confirm the ancient ritual
of the sacrifice of this beast in order to insure the survival of the community.
It is interesting to note that the modern Spanish fighting bull is a direct
descendent of these ancient bovines and would now be extinct if it were
not for the bullfight.
|In many parts of the world
today, we have nothing to compare with this spectacle, so it is important
to keep in mind that the Spanish fighting bull is a unique species, following
his instincts in the ring to charge anything that moves, regardless of
size or color. He has not been trained or manipulated. He also lives a
longer and better life than a steer raised solely to end his life in a
The matador who confronts
the bull is a participant in a drama which, when properly performed, will
display the bravery of both man and bull. And the matador's brush with
death will often bring about a catharsis in the public, a sense of renewed
appreciation for life which will transcend any particular moment in the
Even if there are no bullfights
taking place, you can visit the museum in the Plaza de Toros that displays
matadors' costumes, bullfight posters and original works of art with taurine
themes, including a parade cape painted by Picasso. As part of your visit,
you can enter the ring and actually tread the golden sand, as so many famous
matadors, such as Joselito, Belmonte, Manolete and Seville's own Curro
Romero have done. You may also visit the chapel where they have prayed
before entering the ring and the infirmary where they may have spent some
agonizing moments that are part and parcel of this "fiesta de los toros".