Even though football is watched regularly by millions of Spaniards the national sport of bullfighting still holds a place in many people’s heart. Around the country you’ll find large bullring where sometimes such events take place. But of course the largest one of all of these is Plaza Toros Las Ventas in Madrid.
This bullring can be found located in the city’s Guindalera quarter in the Salamanca district. It is to the northeast of the centre of the city and was designed by the architect José Espeliú. The style he chose is known as Neo-Mudéjar, and was a style that was made popular during the 12th Century during the time when the Moors had made Spain their home. As a result of this the building looks more ancient than it really is.
The history of Plaza Toros Las Ventas
Building of Plaza Toros Las Ventas began on the 19th March 1922 and replaced the former bullring on the site built back in 1874. The cost to build it was 12 million pesetas, around a third more than was originally budgeted. The construction of the building was completed in 1929, yet the buildings actual inauguration did not take place until the 17th June 1931.
After its inauguration it was closed and did not open officially until the 21st October 1934. Furthermore during the country’s civil war it also remained closed (1936 to 1939). Then following cessation of the fighting it reopened in May 1939.
Today this bullring remains the third largest in the world. The largest of all can be found in Mexico City and the second largest is to be found in Venezuela. It has a seating for up to 23,800 spectators, which seems small in comparison when you think that the stadium where Real Madrid plays can seat up to 81,044.
Bullfighting season begins in March and ends in December. But you won’t find bullfights taking place here every weekend. In fact it is now used for holding such events as concerts, as well as for tennis games and is even used to stage such events as Red Bull X-Fighters. Also it often used as the perfect location for political meetings.
The festival of San Isidro
However, during the festival of San Isidro (San Isidro Fiesta) bullfighting events take place in Plaza Las Toros Ventas every day for three weeks. This festival occurs between May and June. Normally the events begin at 7pm and will last for between 2 and 3 hours. But of course such are not for the faint hearted.
If you wish to attend one such event at this time be aware getting tickets can prove difficult as it is so popular. So you may want to consider purchasing your tickets online before you travel to Madrid. Also be aware the cost of these tickets does vary depending on where you choose to sit. The ones in the shade (sombra) are more expensive than those in direct sun (sol).
But for those who prefer to avoid such spectacles then why not spend time just exploring the museum. It will help you to garner a better understanding of why this sport remains such an important part of the Spanish people’s lives.