Historically, Barcelona had three bullrings dedicated to bullfighting. Now only one remains open: the Campo de Fúria in El Porriol. It was built in 1872 and is located near the Passeig Marítim street. The festival takes place here every year on September 22-23 with an average attendance of about 10,000 people.
The Campo de Fúria is a perfect square with four gates opening onto Passeig Marítim. The inside measures 100 meters by 100 meters and includes a small café where you can have a coffee or cold drink before going in to watch the fights. There are also chairs where you can sit and wait for the next program to start.
The last fight usually starts around 20:00 and lasts about an hour. You can see different matadors trying to defeat the bull with their skills until only one remains. Then they will wrestle each other using the toros (bulls) as weapons until finally one of them decides not to fight anymore. Usually, the winner gets rewarded with gold medals and money.
Bullfighting was prohibited in Catalonia by the government in 2010, although Madrid and Andalusia continue to hold bullfighting events throughout the summer. The stadiums are generally filled with interested tourists as well as die-hard supporters.
There are still corridas (fights) being held in southern Spain, but they are done without the use of matadors. Instead, a team of picadors armed with red-handled swords try to induce the bulls into running away by jabbing them with the points of their weapons. If that fails, they are given an electric shock or thrown water balloons at the bulls' feet. The last resort is to shoot the bull with a gun.
In 2015, a new type of fight was introduced to Spain: the corrida de toros modernos. In this fight, two horses race against each other until one drops dead. Then a robot substitutes the dead horse's role while another one takes its place if needed. This continues for several hours until only one horse remains. It then becomes the new champion and receives prizes from mayor figures like politicians or royalty. This type of fight used to be done with real horses until someone got hurt very badly. Nowadays, robots are used instead.
Bullfighting was introduced to the Iberian Peninsula by the Greeks and Phoenicians, and it has evolved and been incorporated into Spanish culture over the years. Originally, the sport comprised men riding horses and battling wild bulls, but it was subsequently altered to men, or matadors, fighting bulls without the assistance of horses. There are records of matadors performing before 774 A.D., so this ancient practice had existed for quite some time when it first came to Spain.
Matadors were originally slaves who were chosen because they were strong enough to fight with a sword and brave enough not to fear death. But after the establishment of Spain as a free country, anyone able to pay a fee could become a matador. Even Queen Isabel I was known to enjoy a good battle between two bulls. She would watch from her balcony at Madrid's Real Alcazar palace with other members of the court. Sometimes the queen would take a sword and join in the fighting herself!
Bullfighting is one of Spain's most popular sports and you will often see people sitting in front of television sets watching major events being live streamed from arenas across the country. The first official bullfight took place in 1478 in Madrid. Since then, it has become an important part of Spanish culture and society, and many people travel to other parts of Europe and America to attend certain events.
Bullfighting is Spain's national sport. The most well-known type of bullfighting is Spanish-style bullfighting, which is a classic spectacle in Spain, Portugal, sections of southern France, and several Latin American nations (Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Peru). In Mexico, Brazil, and the United States, another form of bullfighting has emerged called "corrida." There are also bullrings in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Paraguay.
In Spain, bulls are bred for this purpose. A bullfighter will usually work with his own team of bulls to determine which one he wants to use in the fighting. Before each bout, the bullfighter anoints his sword with oil to protect it from the bull's blood. He may also wear protective padding under his costume to prevent injury. After determining which bull will be used, the bullfighter will choose his spot on the ring floor and wait for the bell to signal the start of the contest.
The bullfight lasts about 15 minutes and consists of five stages: olfaction, warning, attack, defense, and punishment. During the first stage, called olfaction, the matador smells the bull to determine its gender and age. Then he signals the owner of the bull to bring him out into the arena. Finally, the two men walk around the ring together to get to know each other.
According to "Frommer's Travel Guide," bullfighting in Spain dates back to 711 A.D., when the first formal bullfight, or "corrida de toros," was conducted in celebration of King Alfonso VIII's coronation. Spain, which was formerly a part of the Roman Empire, traces its bullfighting heritage in part to gladiator sports. The first recorded bullfight outside Spain is said to have taken place in France in 1759.
The basis of modern bullfighting is thought to have originated in Mexico where it was popular among Spanish colonists. When Spain entered into an economic treaty with Argentina in 1867, the people of Buenos Aires asked for permission to export their cattle to Spain, where they were used for sport. With no alternative use found for them, the king of Spain granted his consent. Once in Spain, the animals were kept in pens and trained by experts to stand still while being gored by swords, spears, and hooks stuck through their skin and into the flesh of their shoulders.
In Spain, bullfights are held at festival time in various parts of the country. During such festivals, towns that have never before hosted a fight hold one as a means of attracting tourists. The popularity of bullfighting has declined in recent years due to government regulations prohibiting the use of real swords and lances in the fights. Today's bulls are given electric shocks to keep them from fighting back. In addition, there is now a law against allowing horses to be killed during a corrida.