Written by 11:00 Curiosities, Fairs

Semana Grande of San Sebastián

The Semana Great of San Sebastián-Donosti has its origin in XIX Century. The fact that Queen Elizabeth II chose the Guipuzcoan capital for summer, attracted an elite tourism that followed the example of the real environment, the high aristocracy and the members of the government.

This gives rise to the need to entertain those new visitors with quality activities. The bullfights had a lot of tradition and roots, and the City Council decided to promote the bullfighting fair. Coinciding with the feast of the Virgin, on August 15, several days of bullfights were scheduled.

In 1875, the old bullring of San Martín burned out, but fortunately for the city, the taurine bussinessman José Arana built a new bullring in a record time, inaugurated on July 16, 1876. So the taurine fair got strong, and had new publicity campaigns in which Arana used for the first time the phrase “Semana Grande”, that from then on would denominate the celebrations of the city.

To bullfights were added dances, concerts, fireworks…Until becoming essential and forming a fundamental part of the current festival program.

Today one of the most important elements of the “Semana Grande” is the International Fireworks Competition, which involves companies from the world geography. It is also worth noting the performances of the most important music groups and in the sports field, highlight the classic crossing from Getaria to San Sebastián, horse races, the beach volleyball tournament and the “herri-kirolak” demonstrations (sport Rural Basque).

After 25 years without a bullring (for the demolitions of Atotxa and El Chofre), in 1998 the current, Illumbe, built by the Chopera family is inaugurated. Then the bulls return to form a fundamental part of the “Semana Grande”.

This year, the cycle is composed of four bullfights: three bullfights and a mixed one (with horses). They will be August 12-15 and main bullfighters and livestocks are announced:

  • Saturday, August 12; bulls from Zalduendo for Morante, Roca Rey and Ginés Marín.
  • Sunday 13; bulls from El Parralejo for Joselito Adame, López Simón and Luis David Adame.
  • Monday 14; mixed bullfight with two bulls from Herederos de Sánchez and Sánchez for Hermoso de Mendoza and four from José Vázquez for Enrique Ponce and Cayetano.
  • Tuesday 15; bulls from Garcigrande and Domingo Hernández for El Juli, Mazanares and Talavante.

So a new opportunity, again this year, to enjoy one of the most beautiful and stately cities of Spain and a fair full of incentives to get closer to San Sebastián.


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