The Plaza de Toros (bullring) in Ronda occupies a very special place in modern Spanish culture and history as the home of the Rondeño style of bullfighting and also of the Real Maestranza De Caballería De Ronda. The bullring was built entirely of stone in the 18th century, during the golden years of Pedro Romero’s reign as a champion bullfighter.
Real Maestranza de Caballería de Ronda.
The bullring is home to the Real Maestranza de Caballería de Ronda, Spain’s oldest and most noble order of horsemanship and an order that traces its heritage back to 1485. This was the year that the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella defeated the Moors in Ronda, thus bringing the city back under Christian rule after 773 years of Islamic rule.
Many tourist guides will tell you the Ronda bullring is the oldest and largest in Spain, in fact the story is confusing. The bullring only has seating for 5,000 spectators, hardly the largest in the world. But, it does have the rueda, which is the large round circle of sand and is the largest in the world at a diameter of 66m. This makes it 6m larger than Spain’s biggest bullring, the Plaza Toros Las Ventas in Madrid.
The first bullfights at the Plaza de Toros (bullring) in Ronda.
The bullring in Sevilla is considered older having commenced construction in 1761, and was completed in 1785, compared to Ronda’s commencement in 1779 and completion in 1784, though purists agree Ronda’s bullring should be entitled to the crown since it was first to stage a corrida. However, in May of 1784 during the first inaugural corrida to be held in Ronda’s Plaza de Toros, part of the stand collapsed forcing its closure until repairs could be made.
The second inaugural corrida occurred on May 19th 1785 and featured Pedro Romero and his greatest rival in the ring Pepe Hillo, by all accounts a day to be remembered in Ronda as one of one of bullfightings greatest moments. All of Ronda’s most noble families were in attendance, and the town was bedecked in flags while in the streets a great party was going on.
The oldest bullring in Spain? No!
Ronda’s bullring, whilst perhaps not the oldest in Spain is definitely the oldest bullring constructed entirely of stone, most others being constructed with a combination of stone and brick. The Plaza de Toros (bullring) in Ronda was designed by José Martín de Aldehuela and is unique in that all of the seating is under cover.
The stands were constructed in two levels of seating of 5 raised rows per level and 136 Tuscan sandstone columns forming 68 arches provide support for the top level of seating and the roof of the Plaza de Toros.
The main entrance to the bullring, completed in 1788, four years after the rueda and seating was constructed, was designed and built by a Rondeño, and master stonemason, Juan Lamas. The design features two tall tuscan columns with the royal shield of Spain at the top centre surrounded by baroque edging. The main door is large enough for horses and carriages to enter the rueda, and above the door is a central balcony featuring wrought iron metalwork with imagery that evokes the culture of bullfighting.
In 1923, when the original Espinel theatre was constructed in Plaza Blas Infante, the main entrance of the Plaza de Toros was relocated to Virgen de la Paz, where it still stands today across the street from the Restaurante Pedro Romero.
In the 1980s the old Espinel theatre was demolished and a new theatre built in Alameda Park. In July 2009, when the car park next to the Plaza de Toros finally closed, a competition to design new gardens that suit the era was organised. At the same time, historians in Ronda suggested moving the entrance back to it’s original location.
During the Feria Goyesca held in the second week of September, an event created by Ronda’s bullfighting maestro Antonio Ordoñez, a bullfight in honour of Pedro Romero is held, often including members of the Ordoñez family, Ronda’s second bullfighting dynasty. The bullfighters and their assistants all wear costumes reminiscent of those worn by characters appearing in Goya’s paintings, whilst the ladies delight in showing themselves off in the most gorgeous dresses.
The museum in Ronda’s Plaza de Toros, the Museo Taurino, contains many of the most important outfits and bullfighting regalia from the last two centuries, as well as an extensive collection of weapons used by the Real Maestranza during Spain’s many wars.
Ronda Bullring Opening Times
January to February 10am till 6pm (10:00 till 18:00)
March 10am till 7pm (10:00 till 19:00)
April to September* 10am till 8pm (10:00 till 20:00)
October 10am till 7pm (10:00 till 19:00)
November to December 10am till 6pm (10:00 till 18:00)
*Except during the feria in the first week of September
Latitude: 36.742065 (36° 44′ 31.43” N)
Longitude: -5.167544 (5° 10′ 3.16” W)
Price of Entry
8.00€ individual with audio-guide
For group bookings, please phone the ticket office +34 952 874 132 or send an email firstname.lastname@example.org
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