Like Flamenco, bullfighting is an essential part of Spanish culture that sets it apart from the rest of the world.
The origins of bullfighting can be found in combats and spectacles with bulls in Ancient Crete. Even before the Punic Wars the Celtiberians had developed their hunting into a sport. In the games held in Ancient Andalusia, men exhibited dexterity and bravery before dealing the death blow by axe or lance to the savage beast. Later, as bullfighting grew in popularity crumbling amphitheaters were embellished. Where amphitheaters didn’t exist contests were held in the city square, or plaza, from which all bullrings, or Plaza de Toros, derive their name. At the present time there are over 400 bullrings throughout the country making bullfighting one of Spain’s best-known popular customs.