Bullfighting is like fox hunting. It’s a subject you don’t discuss with people until you know how they feel about it.
As the Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza is said to be one of the finest in Spain and because I knew little about what really happens, we took a tour of Seville’s bullring.
The exterior is brilliant white and whether or not you agree with bullfighting, you cannot failed to be amazed at its beauty.
After paying €6.50 each we found we were just in time for the 2.30pm tour (every 30 minutes) in English along with 10 others, including a squawking child.
Inside the bullring our guide Lisa, pointed out it was actually oval rather than round as expected. The ring has five doors: one for the matador to enter, one for the bull to enter, one for the horses to enter when they take the bull out, and one which leads injured matadors to hospital. The final gate Puerta del Príncipe, or the Prince’s Gate, is where the matador will be carried by the audience if he becomes a prince by getting two ears and a tail from the same bull or three ears from two bulls.
The 14,000 seater stadium has a sunny and shady side with the first of the 65 seasonal fights starting on Easter Sunday. Tickets range from €150 down and get cheaper as you get up the stadium with the sunny side being half price – the action happens on the shady side and this is where the ‘royal box’ is.
We then moved into the museum and a gallery of pictures and then were shown through four separate sections dating from the 18th to 21st centuries. Here we saw costumes (small and bejeweled and costing up to €100,000), models of how the bull is killed (fights last 20 minutes) and taken away by the horses (the meat is served in local restaurants).
Outside the museum there is a chapel where the matador prays before his fights and we saw the area where the animals are tied up beforehand. The bulls arrive the day before the fight to undergo drugs tests and after the draw takes place to see which matador gets which bull. A matador can earn €30,000 per fight.
It was really interesting although I’m not convinced I’d like to see a real fight. Oh and I could have done without the squawky child.