Bullfights in Cordoba, Spain

bullfightWhile many consider bullfighting to be a politically correct activity, Cordoba still embraces this tradition. It even has a bullfighting ring and a museum paying tribute to bullfighters of Cordoba and the rest of Andalusia.

The Bullfight Museum is in the historic Jewish quarter's House of Bulas. It pays tribute to the Cordoba's so-called “four caliphs of bullfighting: Machaquito (Rafael Gonzalez), Manolete (Manuel Rodriguez), Lagarjito (Rafael Molina) and Guerrita (Rafael Guerra). It also features some of the greatest bullfighters in Spain.

For Cordoba, the bullfighting season starts in May, during the Feria de Cordoba (Cordoba Fair). Although in the city’s large bullring, there are still bullfights round the year. Both locals and tourists gather in the bullring to watch the experience.

The Bullfight

Ole! The corrida, or bullfight, is all about excitement. From the beginning to the end of the bullfight, the air fairly quivers with the thrill and anticipation of the encounter between man and bull. The bullfight is also about discipline and training. The matador, with his graceful moves and maneuvers, have extensively trained for the bullfight.

The corrida usually has six matches. Three matadors against six bulls, each matador having two matches. The match, which lasts for 15 minutes, is composed of three stages. The first stage is about the picadors. These ride on horses and carry lances, which they plunge into the bull’s neck and flanks. On the second stage, the banderilleros come with their colorful costumes and sticks. The banderillas (sharp and colorfully designed sticks) are poked into the bulls neck. This is to make the bull lower its head to prepare it for the coming of the matador.

Of course, the third stage is the entrance of the matador, the star of the show, along with the bull. The matador comes into the bullring, amidst the cheering of the crowd. There he stands, resplendent in his trajes de luces (suit of lights). His costume is quite beautiful – a silk jacket embroidered with gold thread, tight trousers and a bicorne hat.

The matador enters at a time when the bull is at its most enraged. It is ready to kill. It is a measure of the matador’s courage and discipline that he faces the bull with only his cape and his sword. Then he begins a series of maneuvers – very graceful, very intricate. The matador draws the bull closer and closer. The closer the bull, the louder the cheers. Then the matador draws his sword and stabs the bull right between the shoulder blades. However, if the bull is sufficiently strong and enraged enough and the matador is not as skillful, the bull could gore the matador to his death. So thus it is, man against bull.

Watch a bullfight and see this for yourself.