Mijas Bullring

By: Prince Barker

Bullfighting, as an art form has been around since ancient times. Although celebrated in ancient Rome, the growth of Bullfighting in Spain and especially Andalucia that has kept the tradition alive for many centuries. In many villages and cities all over Spain and particularly in Andalucia that you can visit the bullrings and watch a real bullfight. The Mijas bullring is one of such places that still presents classic bullfights throughout the year. The performance is very popular with older Spanish and foreign visitors.

The art of Bullfighting originated with men on horses fighting the bulls. This developed to men fighting the bulls on foot, a modification that brought more popularity to the act. In the town of Ronda, Francisco Romero changed the the tradition by introducing the sword and a small cape to be used in the final act of the fight.

In traditional bullfights, six bulls are killed by three matadors and each bullfight takes approximately 15 minutes to go through the stages until the bull is killed. There is a lot of routine and pomp surrounding the tradition. Music and costumes are both very important in the bullfight.

The entrance of the matadors, the banderilleros and picadors to the ring is announced by the marching rhythms of the “paso doble”. Dressed immaculately, the matadors characteristic apparel is called “traje de luces” in Spain, which translates as a suit of lights. The spectacular embroidered silk jacket, tight trousers and distinctive hat have been worn by matadors for centuries.

The Fight Cycle
As the bull is introduced to the bullring, he is initially and is challenged by the matador, who first uses a large cape to let the bull pass. This large cape movement is called “verónicas”, named after the woman held out a cloth to Christ on his way to the crucifixion.

Bulls are colour-blind and charge instinctively towards the cape because it is a large, moving target. Applause from the crowd is based on his proximity of the matador to the horns of the bull, his sense of ease in the face of danger, and his grace in moving the cape in front of the bull.

In the second part of the bullfight, the picadors enter the bullring mounted on horses bearing lances. The president of the corrida judges how many lancings the picadors will do. The banderilleros move towards the bull with their brightly adorned banderillas (barbed darts), which are used to stab the bull in the shoulders. This will lower the bulls head head for the eventual finale.

After the placing of the banderillas, the trumpet signals the last phase of the bullfight. Although the bull has been weakened and slowed, it is at its most dangerous and this is when gorings mainly occur. The matador begins what is called the faena, the last act of the bullfight.

Most matadors come from bullfighting families and learn their art from childhood. Aficionados study the matador's every move. Emphasis is placed on the ability to increase but control the personal danger. After several minutes in which the matador makes these passes trying to excite the crowd by working closer and closer to the horns of the bull, the matador takes the sword and lines up the bull for the kill.

The Mijas bullring was built in 1900 in response to many villagers petitioning the government. Built beside the old church, the Mijas bullring is unusually shaped, whereas most bullrings are round, the Mijas bullring is oval. Inaguration was held on September 8th, the patron saints day in Mijas.

The Mijas bullring is open to visit when bullfights are not taking place. Visitors can take a walk around the bullring and see some key elements of the tradition. The chapel (capilla), where matadors pray and are annointed prior to the bullfight as well as matador costumes. The 'puerta de arastre' which leads to where the bulls are kept can also be seen.

Mijas Bullring is located just above Plaza Constitucion and beside the beautiful Parque Muralla and its gardens. Entrance to the Mijas Bullring is 3€. Tickets for bullfights can also be purchased at the Ticket office.

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Want more information about Mijas? The village contains points of interest. Set on the highpoint of the village is the Mijas bullring. Real bullfights still take place or you can visit the bullring during the week when bullfights are not taking place.

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