HORSES OF FIRE ON THE BEACHES OF SANLÚCAR
According to the ancient Romans, the sun god Phoebus released his horses of fire on the beaches of Sanlúcar de Barrameda to rest and run free. This mythological tale has something of prophecy and is easy to see in the August afternoons in Sanlúcar, when tens of horses gallop by the sea against the falling sun. The beaches in this area of Cadiz fill with tourists and fans to watch the oldest horse races in the country.
Its origin is less mythological and more prosaic than you might imagine. In the 18th century, the fishermen transported their goods at night to avoid paying the high levies charged in the area. Their inevitable hurrying caused rivalry between the different fishermen. Two centuries later, what started as an illegal activity has now become a tourist attraction.
Evenings over the Doñana Nature Park, the pure blood horses, the helmets hitting the sand of the beach... The details lift this competition and place it above all others. The typical dry sherry and shrimps add to the celebration of the three large prizes. Year after year, the tourists enjoy the races, but for the village people they mean somewhat more. In August the village is paralysed and turns to the sea to admire the sun god’s horses of fire that once a year run along the beaches of Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
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