Madrid replaces cars with sheep in traditional migration to the south

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Madrid replaces cars with sheep in traditional migration to the south
Like every year, shepherds guide their sheep to the fields of the south. Photo: Reuters

This Sunday the sheep once again replaced the cars in the streets of Madridwhile the shepherds followed ancient routes leading their flocks through the center of the Spanish capital to the southern pastureswhere they will spend boreal winter.

What happened today in Madrid?

Like every year on these dates, locals and tourists alike watched the route of thousands of sheep crossing the cityalong with a noisy soundtrack from the cowbells around their necks.

The walk was resumed in 1994 at the Transhumance Festival in Madrid. Photo: Reuters

This, in an annual event recovered only in 1994 as part of the Festival of the Transhumance of Madridafter the Spanish Parliament recognized the traditional routes used by shepherds to graze their cattle.

Centuries ago the route took them through quiet countryside, but today they pass through some of the city’s busiest areas, including the Main Squarethe main one in the capital of Spain.

Both tourists and Spaniards take the opportunity to pet the sheep. Photo: Reuters

People took photos and videos on their phones, while some children reached out to pet the sheep.

Many were surprised by the unexpected sight in a city usually packed with traffic.

“It was crazy that there were so many sheep, I had never seen anything like it. It was a great way to learn about Spanish history and culture,” said English teacher Maria Kouriabalis, a 22-year-old American who has been living in Madrid for a month.

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