The Encierro and Hemingway

“This is the ‘encierro’. ‘Aficionados’ are allowed to fight with the bull, but without arms; it is the chance that Pamplona gives them during the San Fermín festival " - Ernest Hemingway-

On 7 July 1923, Hemingway and his wife Hadley come across something they didn't expect. They look out onto the balcony of the pension on Eslava street and they are surprised by the many people that occupy the streets. They have just discovered something that amaze them and that will immediately capture Hemingway. It is the encierro. On 18 July 1923, the writer explains that every morning the herd of bulls, “through the main street”, arrives at the plaza with the young people running in front of the herd. This whole group runs "like hell" with the bulls behind them "trying to catch them”.

“A human torrent”, he describes it in the article of 27 October 1923, in which he details the route of the encierro: “Everyone contemplated the long and narrow wooden corral that went from the entrance to the city to the square. This corral was a double wooden barrier like an alley, starting from the main street of the town and ending in the ring; and it was about two hundred and fifty yards long. There was a great tumult of people on both sides”.

In the novel ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls”, the main character Robert Jordan shoots a young requeté militiaman from the locality of Tafalla in the battle of Segovia, and as he looks at him he thinks: “I have probably seen him run in front of the bulls through the streets at the Pamplona festival”.

Practical Information

When: from July 7th to 14th.

TIme: 8:00

Distance: 848,6 meters.

Approximate duration: 2 min.

Web: The Running of the Bulls and the Encierrillo