No doubt that the Ronda bullring (Plaza de Toros) , together with the Puente Nuevo or New Bridge, is the most important building of the city and a visit is an absolute must-do. It is like a sanctuary of contemporarty bullfight and on top of that the construction is the oldest conserved arena.
Strinking feature is the ring’s entrance with its neoclassical aspect and some baroque details, added at the beginning of the twentieth century.
The main gate has semicircular arches, complemented by Tuscan columns carrying a tympanum with the coat of arms of the Real Maestranza and an elegant little balcony in wrought iron with bull figures.
There are 5.000 seats in the arena, all covered, around a sandy plain with a cross-section of 66 metres and the only one in the world with a stone fence. The gate for the bulls, the lodge for the Board and the Royal Box are all at the same side of the building, wich also makes the arena unique.
The arena was inaugurated on the 11th of May 1784, but a part of the benches collapsed during the opening ceremony. After one year of restaurantion, during the annual Fair of May, the arena was reopened with a large-scale bullfight between Pedro Romero and his chief rival Pepe Hillo.
Also involved with the restauration was José Martín Aldehuela, who was constructing the New Bridge (Puente Nuevo) by then.
This Temple of Bullfight was built and owned by the “Real Cuerpo de la Maestranza de Cabellería de Ronda”. Its origin goes back to the end of the XVth century, the era of the Catholic Kings. King Philip II changed the old brotherhoods into Real Maestranzas in 1571. Ronda was the first responding and legalized its Real Maestranza in 1572, which makes it the first and oldest of Spain.
The museum located in the arena (Museo Taurino de la Plaza de Toros) offers a permanent exhibition of the 2 biggest bullfighter’s dynasties of Ronda: the Romero Family and the Ordóñez Family. Apart from engravings, lithos and drawnings the collection includes other relics of Bullfightworld like the original Goya-suit of Antonio Ordóñez as well. Also predominant is the amazing history of the Real Maestranza (the Royal Cavalry).
Definitly peculiare as well is Antonio Ordóñez’ last wish before he died; that’s why you’ll find a gravestone for Ordóñez, with the ashes of the deceased bullfighter underneath, at the interior gateway, there where the bulls run into the field.
Nowadays there are not too much Corridas in Ronda, but every year first week of September the arena (Plaza de Tores) celebrates its Corrida Goyesca, brainchild of Antonio Ordóñez. A bullfight in Goya-style, the great spanish Master, during the Pedro Romero Fair. Bullfight lovers from al over the world come to Ronda to see this unique happening. The bullfighters as well as the audience usually dress up in traditional costumes, Goya-style 18th century. In the past important people like Orson Welles or Ernest Hemingway visited this festival.
The fight is awarded to Pedro Romero, famous bullfighter, likewise 18th century, who set up the regulations of moderne bullfight, history says. He was born in Ronda in 1755 and fought bulls from when he was 8 till when he was 70, and so might have killed about 6000 bulls… He eventually died when he was 90, and never ever got injured in a Corrida.
CLIENTE: REAL MAESTRANZA DE CABALLERÍA DE RONDA