Plaza de Toros – Seville’s Magnificent Bullring is the Oldest in Spain:
The Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballeria de Sevilla is a mouthful, but beyond this long name is a magnificent Seville bullring that is the oldest in Spain. Plaza de Toros is popularly known to the locals as “the Cathedral” because it is considered one of the most beautiful bullrings in the country.
Plaza de Toros
Construction of Seville’s Plaza de Toros began in 1761 and, under a succession of architects, it was finally completed in 1881 . The white building with its bright yellow trims has an impressive late-Baroque and neo-classical façade and its arcaded arena holds some 14,000 spectators. On the west side is the Puerta del Príncipe (the Prince’s Gate), where victorious toreros get carried through on the shoulders of the admiring spectators.
The bullring is owned by La Real Maestranza de Caballeria de Sevilla, the Noble Order of bullfighters in Seville.
Bullfighting in Seville
Bullfighting has deep roots in Seville and the province is the birthplace of celebrated bullfighters like Juan Belmonte García, Joselito el Gallo, Pepe Luis Vazquez, Curro Romero and others. Although many of the younger generation in Spain, who are more in tune with animal welfare, are turned off by this blood-letting sport, it nevertheless remains popular, especially in Seville.
Bullfighting in Seville was immortalized in Bizet’s Carmen and we came across the fiery Carmen on a pedestal across the road from the Plaza de Toros main entrance.
The bullfighting season starts from Easter Sunday, at the end of Semana Santa, and continues through the April Fair and ends in October. Special fights are held on the feast of Corpus Christi, Feast of the Virgen de los Reyes (the city’s patron), the last weekend of the Feria de San Miguel and on October 12 for the Day of the Virgen del Pilar. Most of the bigger-name corridas (bullfights) take place on Sunday evenings and many of the famous matadors appear during the Feria de Abril, Seville’s famous Spring Fair. Ticket prices range from €10 to €3,200 for the best seat in the house.
Guided Tour of the Bullring
The Plaza de Toros is one of the most visited monuments in Seville. I must say that we do not agree with any sport that involves the killing of animals, but even if you do not approve of this blood-spilling sport, it is worthwhile visiting the bullring to get a sense of Spain’s bullfighting culture. The bullring can only be visited as part of a guided tour which can be booked when you are there. Alternatively, you can join a private walking tour of Seville, which includes a visit to Seville’s bullring. The visit starts in the spectator stands from where you can admire the beautiful architecture of the bullring, be in awe of its size and imagine the roar of the crowd as the toreros and the bulls go through their routine. The Palco del Principe (Prince’s Balcony) is reserved for the Royal Family.
On this tour you’ll also see the Art Gallery, the Chapel where the toreros pray before entering the bullring and the enfermeria (emergency hospital) where the unfortunate ones get emergency treatment. At the Museo Taurino (Bullfighting Museum) you can learn about the history of bullfighting in Spain over the ages. The museum has a collection of bullfighting memorabilia, including portraits of famous toreros, bullfighters’ costumes, capes and miscellaneous images.
At the entrance is a souvenir shop selling posters of bullfighters, books, postcards and a range of articles relating to the Plaza de Toros.
The Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza is located at Paseo de Cristobal Colón, 12 which runs alongside the Guadalquivir River. The riverfront area is a pleasant area for enjoying a relaxing stroll and you can even go on a Guadalquivir River cruise from here.
Daily 09:30 – 20:00 (May to Oct) and 09:30 – 19:00 (Nov – Apr) except on bullfighting days when it is open until 15:00.
Plaza de Toros
Paseo de Cristobal Colon
Tel: +34 954 22 45 77 or +34 954 22 14 90
Map of Seville: