Madrid, Spain: Plaza Mayor and Bullfighting Culture

Madrid, Spain: Plaza Mayor and Bullfighting Culture


Plaza Mayor is a stately, traffic-free chunk
of 17th-century Spain. Whether hanging out with old friends, enjoying a cup of coffee,
or finding a treasure at the Sunday coin market, it’s an inviting place for people to gather. The square is filled with emblems of Spain’s
powerful past. Bronze reliefs under the lampposts show how upon this stage, much of Spanish
history was played out. The square hosted bullfights. It was the scene of generations
of Carnavale gaiety. And during the Inquisition, many suspected heretics were tried here and
punished…in this case, publicly strangled. Thankfully, the brutality of the Inquisition
is long gone. But one brutal spectacle that survives today — anchored deep in the psyche
of Spain — is the bullfight. Whether you actually go to a bullfight or not is entirely
up to you. But anyone, for a quick sense of the action, can pop into one of Madrid’s
many bull bars. Aficionados gather at a bar like this after
fights — or to watch one on TV. This bar is a temple to bullfighting. Rick: If you like bull fighting, how do you
justify it, with the animal? How do you excuse it?
Carlos: It’s an art. Bull fighting is an art. It’s not about the cruelty, it’s
just an art, and it’s a whole aesthetic. You’re fighting against an animal that is
500 or 600 kilos and there is this guy right in front of him with this cape and sword.
And he is brave enough, and he’s wearing this suit and people are so supportive of
him they want to see him like doing well. Rick: So some bullfighters are actually very
popular, like heroes or popular heroes? Carlos: Oh absolutely. Rick, look at these
photographs. I think they prove that the matador does not always win. Carlos: Hemingway was at that bullfight.
Hemingway was there. Rick: Hemingway? Hemingway saw Liston…
Cordobés kill …? Carlos: Yes, right at the hands of El Cordobés,
with Franco in the audience… Rick: So Franco and Hemingway saw the “Babe
Ruth of bullfighting” — El Cordobés — kill Liston.

14 thoughts on “Madrid, Spain: Plaza Mayor and Bullfighting Culture

  1. Bullfighting is not culture, and I'm Spanish. Just stop thinking as a turist and think in the animal rights. This is from the XIX centry.

  2. Why am I now getting captions about what is said in this video? I can hear what you are saying perfectly fine.

  3. I'm curious if the younger generation in Spain is as supportive of bullfighting as the older generations. Social change must often wait generations to take hold, as it has here in the US with marijuana, marriage equality, civil rights, etc. 

  4. Interesting, we could have saved a few bucks and had a beer! Your first bullfight can make you sick, but bear out the whole show. It is a show full of pomp and pageantry, fear and hope. By the end of the afternoon you may have booed a butcher, freed a bull or appreciated the artistry. In a world where so many people die stupidly, perhaps the bull provides a release for humanity?

  5. I'm Spanish and many people here, including me, think that torturing bulls in front of a crowd is NOT AN ART, but CRUELTY. These animal torturers and their supporters live IN THE PAST. If you want art, go to a museum…

  6. To any potential tourists: PLEASE don't go to a bullfight. Not only is a deeply unpleasant event (would you pay to watch a dog beaten to death? Then don't pay to see a bull slowly tortured to death) but your money is helping keep this atrocity alive. Most Spaniards either don't care of are actively against bullfighting. It is NOT our sport and NOT what we want the country to be known for. If you want to see a stereotypical Spanish event, go to a flamenco show, and leave the poor animals alone.

  7. Stinking bar with all the stuffed animal heads !!! Sickening !!! Bullfight is abuse and cruelty to an innocent animal, please .Boycott Spain in your tours , travel plans, business import or export !!!! The Governemtn has to take a step to stop this wickedness !!! EU allocated subsidies in millions for Bullfighting…It is a Cruelty aganst G-d who created these animals and against innocent voiceless defenceless animal is an abomination, a curse be upon them who go as metador !!!

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