Yesterday ( Sep 25, 2011) more than 600 years of history came to an end in Barcelona as the city hosted its last ever bullfight. It delights me to know that after this, no Spanish fighting bull or "toro bravo" as the breed is known, will be killed in the name of sport, art or tradition again, at least in Barcelona.
The Catalonians are understandably proud to be the first region in Spain to ban bullfighting. Supporters of the sport claim that they (Catalonia) did it just to have one more thing to differentiate them from the rest of Spain, but activists insisted that it was voted out because it was a barbaric sport and had no place in an enlightened society.
Above: Barcelona's only remaining Bullfight arena, the Plaza de Toros Monumental. A very striking building made of bricks in the Mujedar (Moor) and Byzantine style. The ban will only affect "bullfighting" and not other sports in which the bull is involved, like "correbou" where the public chase bulls through narrow streets, or "bouembolat" where festivities involve attaching mini fire torches to the bull's horns.
Correbou (not my own picture)
Bouembolat : is a tradition that was first started in the Valencia region of Catalonia. In days of old it was not uncommon for people to be fatally charged by bulls as they walked along poorly-lit streets. To prevent accidents like that from happening, it was decided that bulls would be fitted with fire torches and that way, not only would they light up the streets but it would also warn people to their presence. Nowadays the lights aren't necessary but the tradition continues. Photo courtesy: Josep Llouis Sellart
Arenas de Barcelona, with its beautiful neo-mujedar architecture, used to be a bullfighting arena but has now been converted into a shopping plaza which houses an excellent Desigual store. For the uninitiated, Desigual is a Spanish clothing store, known for their colourful, ultra-urban fashion with their headquarters and flagship store in Barcelona. More on Desigual when I post about shopping in Barcelona.