More than 2000 animals descended on the streets of Madrid for the annual sheep Festival. It is the Fiesta de la Trashumancia and people lined the route to enjoy the occasion. The festival is in its 25th year. It began in 1994 and it provides shepherds an opportunity to pay homage to the area's rural heritage. The city is located on an ancient migration route that was popular with shepherds. They followed this route to move their livestock south for the winter.

The event is a big attraction for locals and tourists who Travel from distant places to watch thousands of sheep hoofing down the streets. Tourist authorities also cash in on the business potential.

BBC reports that there is a nominal fee. The chief herdsman pays it to the mayor in a ceremony at the city hall. It is a token amount paid in exchange for safe passage of the animals through the city of Madrid.

The basis is an agreement that dates back to 1418. It seems as per the agreement with the city's council, shepherds had to shell out 50 coins for every thousand head of livestock.

It is a veritable feast on the eyes

The festival is important for shepherds. They get a chance to show off their livestock and dress up the sheep in traditional ways.

That adds to the charm of the festivities. Some of them had bells, which meant it was a noisy affair. Visitors who were present were pleasantly surprised with so many sheep on the streets free of traffic. One of the tourists admitted – “We didn't know but we were lucky." People are always on the lookout for new travel destinations and this could be another option.

The BBC describes this year’s Fiesta de la Trashumancia event in brief.

It began in the morning at Casa de Campo. This is the largest park in Madrid. From the park, the next halt was the city hall for the traditional payment ceremony after which they left. There were 2,000 merino sheep apart from a few goats.

The unique sheep festival of Madrid

According to Standard UK, it is a common practice for shepherds to move their livestock from place to place during winter. The route they followed centuries ago would have taken them through the undeveloped countryside.

That has, over the years, undergone immense changes and has transformed into the city center of Madrid, the capital of Spain. The route also covers a few of its famous streets like Sol square and Gran Via Street.

Shepherds bring flocks once a year to participate in the sheep festival and hundreds of people gather on the pavements to watch the spectacle of the herds of sheep as they make their way through the city.

It is more or less a festival with a difference and one that can attract tourists. Obviously, tour operators would want to exploit various options. Madrid is a well-known tourist destination and this annual sheep festival could be another crowd puller.

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