Despite the heated controversy over the Spanish tradition of bullfighting, the bullrings themselves hold an important place in the life and culture of Spain. They also present a fascinating atmosphere for tourists whether it is to watch a bullfight in action or not!
1. Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza, Seville
As the oldest bullring in Spain, this is considered to be one of the most important in the world and is the site of the most popular annual bullfighting festival during the Seville Fair. The arena has a beautifully maintained baroque design and makes for a very impressive visit in itself. It is also well worth attending a guided tour, comprising of a visit to the actual bullring, the bullfighter’s chapel, the horses courtyard and the museum which traces the sport’s history from the 18th century. If you’re open minded and can handle witnessing the gory scenes of an actual bullfight, this would be the place to do it! The corrida season runs from Easter Sunday to 12 October, with many of the most celebrated matadors appearing during Feria week at the end of April. Seville is the city in which bullfighting continues to be most prevalent today, although frowned upon by younger generations, it remains an integral part of Spanish tradition.
2. Las Ventas, Madrid
Unsurprisingly, the Spanish capital is not to be outdone in being home to Spain’s largest bullring, Las Ventas. With a 23,798-seat capacity, this artistic monument will leave you in awe of its enormity and is a must-see for tourists. The arena also offers an in depth tour where you get to see the stands in addition to hidden areas such as the patio where the bullfighters wait before the event and where the bulls are taken after the fight. This lets you gain an insight into the minds of the matadors and get a feeling how things when down behind the scenes. Representing one of the finest examples of Arabic architecture in Spain, the bullring stands out for its exposed brickwork and ceramic tile decoration. Las Ventas is located in Madrid’s Salamanca “barrio”, one if it’s most upmarket and residential neighbourhoods which makes it a great area in which to stay during your visit. Check out GowithOh who provide a wide selection of holiday apartments for a more than comfortable stay in the city.
Photo by ericc1 on Flickr