| || |
COSTA DEL SOL
Most Spanish bullrings were built in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The one belonging to the Royal Armoury of the Cavalry of Ronda, however, dates back to the eighteenth century, and thus is has unique historical traces that attract not only visitors but the leading bullfighting figures too. Neoclassical in style, it has the largest arena in the world. If you're coming to Ronda, this bullring is a must-see.
The Royal Armoury’s bullring can hold 6,000 spectators. In September, when the most important bullfighting events take place, its box office often displays a “Sold Out” notice. September is the month of the so-called “Corrida Goyesca,” where bullfighters wear costumes resembling those appearing in Goya’s nineteenth-century paintings. Ronda’s love for bulls is so strong that there’s even an Institute of Bullfighting Studies, Antonio Ordoñez, and a museum showing the history of bullfighting in the bullring itself. Bullfights tend to be scheduled in early September and in May.
La Malagueta, the Neomudejar bullring in Málaga City, was opened in 1876. Now it’s a top-class bullfighting venue. One of its most popular views can be obtained from the Gibralfaro vantage point: the yellow ring and reddish balconies in the foreground, and the blue Mediterranean Sea in the background. La Malagueta holds 14,000 people in its different areas –“barrera,” “tendido,” “palcos,” and “plantas.” It’s extremely busy in August, when about twenty bullfighting events are scheduled during the Málaga Fair. It can be visited by tourists in the morning in these days. Other events are held in March or April, before Easter.
The bullrings in Antequera and Carratraca are particularly interesting. The latter is carved in mountain slopes, whereas the former is famous for its beautiful structure, with its brick and wood arches, and for the tea-time snacks you can have in the bullring itself during the break. The town fair is held in the last week of August, and there are bullfighting sessions every day. There is a Spring Fair in May, too, and it also includes bullfights. On the Day of Andalusia (28 February), there are bullfighting celebrations as well.
The bunch of “unconventional” bullrings includes the one in Mijas too. The ring is an oval, as two of its sides are straight and there are raised stands in the corners. This is how the bullring is anchored to sharply sloping relief.
In the last century, bullfighting came to coastal towns, with bullrings being built in places like Estepona, Torremolinos or Marbella. These new bullfighting venues attracted foreign visitors mainly.
The local fairs in most towns in Málaga Province include bullfights, most of which take place in the summer. Even those villages lacking a bullring of their own set up portable ones for the occasion. Travel agencies and hotels in coastal areas organise special bullfighting tours, taking visitors to events in other towns.
(c) Turismo Costa del Sol/www.visitacostadelsol.com.