Shepherds Walk 5,000 Sheep Through Madrid
Just as in the Middle Ages, flocks of sheep and herds of cows made their way through Madrid city centre on Sunday, marking the centuries-old annual tradition of transhumance, in which cattle migrates from summer to winter pastures.
Thousands of bleating sheep that had left the mountains of the north or the hot plains of the south, found their way through the city streets no differently than they would a rural hamlet.
“Transhumance is still practiced by herds coming down from the north heading towards the fields of Castile,” cattle farmer Vanesa Sanchez said as she accompanied her cows.
Sunday’s festival is “a reminder that Madrid was and still is on a transhumance pathway,” she said as shepherds whistled around her, directing their livestock down Madrid’s historic avenues.
“These ones come from Colmenar Viejo, about twenty kilometres north of Madrid,” explained farmer Geronimo Garcia, pointing to a few beasts as they left the Puerta del Sol, the capital city’s most famous square.