Pamplona Festival (Bulls Running)

July 11, 2010

About the Festival (Pamplona festival)
* The Spanish city of Pamplona is famous for 'San Fermin festival'.
* It celebrates the life of ‘San Fermin’, the first Bishop of Pamplona who was martyred by the Romans.
* The modern day Festival has evolved from this as well as individual commercial and bullfighting fiestas which can be traced back to the 14th century.
* The festival runs from midday on the 6th July until midnight on the 14th July.
* Over many years the mainly religious festival of San Fermin was diluted by music, dancing, bullfights and markets.

What happens
* Opening Ceremony – the ‘fiesta San Fermin’ is officially opened at midday.
* Traditional dress for the Festival is all white clothes with a red scarf that is worn around the wrist.
* As the bell strikes wave your scarf over head before tying it around your neck where it should be worn for the duration of the festival.
* During the day you can expect atmospheric singing, dancing, copious amounts of sangria and non-stop partying in the streets.
* The Bull Runs – The best-known event of the festival is the ‘encierro’ (Running of the Bulls).
* This event is held each morning at 08:00 am from the 7th -14th July inclusive.
* Runners do not need to enter, simply turn up before 8am in preparation for the run, which is approximately 830 metres long.
* The runners begin and are followed by 6 fighting bulls, which are herded by some old steers.
* The bulls run through the streets and on into the arena.
* Parade of the Giants - held each morning with huge paper mache figures dancing and swirling in the streets.
* Fire bull - or what appears to be a man in a steel drum covered in firecrackers, is let loose to entertain young and old, each evening.
* Corrida - or Bull Fights are held each evening from 6.30pm in the arena when three Matadors fight two bulls each.
* Firework display - is put on each evening near the old Citadel at 11.00pm.
* Closing Ceremony - the locals gather in the main square, the Plaza de Castillo, to form a candle light procession to the old church to bid farewell to the festivities for another year which is followed by yet another massive firework display at midnight.

What is Pamplona?

Pamplona is the capital city of Navarre, Spain. It has a population of 171,150, and is 92 kilometres from the town of San Sebastian, and 407 kilometres from Madrid.
Pamplona is famous for the San Fermin festival, in July 7, also known as The running of the bulls or encierro.
Ernest Hemingway made Pamplona famous and was duly rewarded for it by having a street named after him, Avenida de Hemingway.
The area around Pamplona is hot, dry, arid and very similar to the landscape found in parts of Southern California and Northern Mexico. The city itself is very green: together with the old section of the city, which hosts San Fermin, with its cobbled streets, it is a pleasant tourist destination.


Located at an altitude of 444m above sea level on a hill overlooking the Arga River and which overlooked the surrounding valley, Pamplona was populated from very remote times. In the winter of 74-75 B.C., the area served as a camp for the Roman general Pompeyo. He is considered to be the founder of "Pompaelo" (Pamplona).
By the 2nd century, Pamplona was a significant Roman town with a forum and hot baths. By 409, however, Pamplona was controlled by the Visigoths - it serves as an episcopal see from the end of the seventh century - and from the eighth century, it was under domination by the Moors. After his expedition to Zaragoza in 778, Charlemagne tore down the walls surrounding Pamplona.
In 781 Abd al-Rahman reconquered the city. Destroyed by Abd al Rahman III in 924, Pamplona was reduced to a small country village also called Iruga and later Navarreria .
By the 10th century, Pamplona was benefitted from pilgrimages to Santiago, and gave rise to new city areas beside the original site.
In 1515 the area of Navarra associated itself with the Castiles and became an autonomous kingdom with its own institutions and laws. By the 17th century, Pamplona became a fortress on the edge of the Pyrenees.
During the 18th century, several beautiful palaces were built in the capital of Navarra such as the Casa Consistorial or Town Hall in 1752.
The neoclassic facade of the Cathedral was undertaken in 1783.
The city did not escape the regional wars of the 19th century. French troops occupied the city after a surprise attack, pretending to be citizens playing nearby with snow balls, remained in Pamplona until 1813. During the Carlist Wars (1833, 1872) Pamplona supported the Isabelian monarchy, as opposed to rural Navarra which fought in favor of the pretender to the throne, Don Carlos.

Pamplona has maintained the medieval outlay of the town, but expanded to include suburbs in the past 100 years. The city is home to two universities: the Universidad de Navarra in 1960, founded by the Opus Dei, and the Universidad Publica de Navarra, created by the government of Navarra in 1987.

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