June 29, 2015

1209, 1700 SPAIN (Andalusia) - A bullfight in Plaza de Toros in Ronda

1209 - A poster of a corrida
in Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Posted on 27.08.2014, 29.06.2015
Bullfighting (Spanish: corrida de toros), also known as tauromachia or tauromachy, is a traditional spectacle of Spain, Portugal, southern France and some Hispanic American countries, in which bulls are fought in a bullring. Some followers of the spectacle prefer to consider it a fine art, and not a sport, because doesn't imply elements of competition. Today, the bullfight involves professional toreros (the most senior is called matador) who execute moves which differ according to the bullfighter's style or school. Such maneuvers are performed at close range, after the bull has been weakened by lances and short spears with barbs. The bullfight usually concludes with the killing of the bull by a single sword thrust (estocada).

1700 - SPAIN (Andalusia) - Ronda: 1. Puente Nuevo (New Bridge);
2. Plaza de Toros de Ronda.

Supporters of bullfighting argue that it is a culturally important tradition and a fully developed art form, whereas critics hold that it is a bloody sport, that causes suffering of bulls and horses. The Spanish introduced the practice of fighting bulls on foot around 1726.  Francisco Romero from Ronda is generally regarded as having been the first to do this. The modern style of Spanish bullfighting is credited to Juan Belmonte, generally considered the greatest matador of all time. In the traditional corrida, three matadores fight each with two bulls between four and six years old, with a weighs no less than 460kg. Each matador has six assistants: two picadores (lancers on horseback), three  banderilleros, and a mozo de espadas (sword page), which together form a cuadrilla (entourage).

The modern corrida is highly ritualized, with three distinct stages or tercios (thirds). Torero costumes are inspired by 17th-century Andalusian clothing, and matadores are easily distinguished by the gold of their traje de luces (suit of lights), as opposed to the banderilleros, also known as toreros de plata (bullfighters of silver). The largest fighting venue is the Plaza México in Mexico City, which seats 48,000 people, and the oldest is the La Maestranza in Seville, first used in 1765. The Plaza de Toros de Ronda is an arena with a diameter of 66m, surrounded by a passage formed by two rings of stone, built between 1779 and 1785 in Neoclassical style. The Romero and Ordóñez families were known for their great bullfights in the Plaza, and a statue of Cayetano Ordóñez stands outside one of the entrances to the bullring.

Situated in a very mountainous area, Ronda is divided in two by El Tajo canyon, carved by the Guadalevín River. Three bridges span the canyon, of which the tallest is Puente Nuevo (New Bridge), towering 120m above the canyon floor. It was designed by the architect José Martin de Aldehuela, who also designed the Plaza de Toros de Ronda. Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles spent many summers in Ronda. The famous scene in Chapter 10 of Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls, describing the 1936 execution of Fascist sympathisers in a (fictional) village who are thrown off a cliff, is considered to be modeled on actual events at the time in Ronda.

About the stamp
On the postcard 1209
The stamp is one of the two issued for the Christmas and New Year, about which I wrote here.

Bullfighting - Wikipedia 
Ronda - Wikipedia 
Plaza de Toros de Ronda - Wikipedia

Sender 1209: Patrik Hierner
Sent from Sevilla (Andalusia / Spain), on 05.05.2014
Sender 1700: Ana
Sent from Costa del Sol (Catalonia / Spain), on 12.06.2013

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