Bullfights are the oldest public spectacle in Spain and one of the oldest in the world. Málaga is a province where the bullfight continues to have a particular relevance. The birthplace of great bullfighters and bullfighting schools, it boasts bullrings, bullfighting museums and bullfighting programmes in a large number of towns and cities.
Ronda, birthplace of bullfighters
Ronda's Francisco Romero is considered to be the father of modern bullfighting. He founded a dynasty of bullfighters, continued by his son Juan Romero and his grandson, the legendary Pedro Romero.
Another famous Ronda bullfighting family line is that of Cayetano Ordóñez Aguilera, known as "El Niño de la Palma" and continued by his son Antonio Ordóñez, who, with his classical purist style and impeccable presentation, was one of the greatest bullfighters of the 20th century. There are currently two bullfighters keeping this dynasty alive: Francisco and Cayetano Rivera Ordóñez.
The 18th century neoclassical bullring of the Real Maestranza de Caballería (Royal School of Cavalry) of Ronda, is one of the oldest in Spain and one of the most beautiful in the world. Beneath the rows of seats, the bullring also houses the Antonio Ordóñez Institute of Taurine Studies and the Bullfighting Museum.
Bullrings in Málaga province
After Ronda, the Antequera Bullring, which dates back to 1848, is the second oldest in the province. The Malagueta Bullring, in Málaga city, is the largest in the province. In 1976 it was declared an historical and artistic heritage site, coinciding with the centenary of its inauguration.
There are also unconventional bullrings such as Carratraca, set on a hillside and with an octagonal floor, or the oval-shaped Mijas bullring, hewn out of the rock.
In Málaga province there are about twenty bullrings, all constructed between the 19th and 20th centuries.
Bullfighting museums on the Costa del Sol
The bullfighting museums offer visitors an extensive journey through the world of bulls. They include bullfighter costumes, pictorial work and photographs, posters, documents and other objects related to the tradition. The Antonio Ordóñez Bullfighting Museum is located within the La Malagueta Bullring.
The Bullfighting Museum of the Real Maestranza de Caballería (Royal School of Cavalry) of Ronda occupies part of the area beneath the lower rows of seats in the shaded section of the bullring. The museum illustrates the mythical origins of bullfighting, its establishment in Spain and the evolution of tauromachy; the art or act of bullfighting. On display is a collection of etchings, engravings, lithographs and prints, including a copy of La Tauromaquia by Francisco de Goya, and depictions of bullfighting by the English painters Lake Price and Edward Orme, and the French painter and lithographer Víctor Adam.
There are also bullfighting museums in Estepona, Antequera and Mijas.
If you would like to see the fierce toro bravo, or fighting bull, in its natural environment, Reservatauro Ronda offers the chance to visit a ranch breeding fighting bulls and thoroughbred Spanish horses in the Sierra de las Nieves mountain range. You can see how the bulls are reared from birth and enjoy and observe the flora and fauna of the Ronda mountains.