The Plaza de Toros is an absolute must-see on any trip to Sevilla. It is the heart of the spanish tradition of bullfighting and a beautiful structure. There is also a museum where you can get more information on the sport and see some artifacts and articles from years past.
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We were fortunate to get tickets to the last bullfight of the season at the Plaza de Toros de La Maestranza de Seville in Seville, Spain. We paid a bit extra, €34 (US$48) for the Barreras (front seats) where we sat with the upper crust of Seville. Six bulls died that afternoon. It takes about twenty people to kill one bull when you count the Rejoneadores (horse-mounted fighters), Picadors (fighter to weaken the bull), the matador (pictured here) and others. Though the atmosphere was exciting with the live band playing and people yelling, “olé,” I had trouble keeping an open mind towards this type of “cultural experience.”
Part of the romanticized image of Spain includes the brave torero (bullfighter) conquering a bull in the tradition of bull fighting. When the opportunity arose for me to watch a bullfight, I was initially conflicted over the issue of whether I would be able to stomach watching a bull be tortured and then killed.
However, in order to really understand Spanish culture as I am trying to do on this trip, I decided to sit myself down in Seville’s Plaza de Toros de La Maestranza one fateful Sunday and watch as three toreros took on two bulls each.
The bullfight felt barbaric as the crowd cheered each time the bull was hurt or toppled over itself while trying to get at all those causing it pain.
It was gruesome and painful to watch, but imagine my surprise when I started to appreciate the art of the event. Before being splashed with blood, the toreros come out adorned in their traje de luces (suit of lights) that literally shine when hit with sunlight.
Matching the grace of their suits, the toreros themselves performed back-bending moves that without all the violence involved could be considered a dance between man and beast. Each time that the bull got closer to the torero, I found myself catching my breath in anticipation of the worst only to watch the torero adjust his hips at the last second to let the bull pass him by untouched.
Full summary found in my blog "Ahoy Meiti": http://ahoymeiti.wordpress.com/