The bullfighting and bullrings in Madrid

The title of doctor in bullfighting is granted in a ceremony called “the alternative” (authorization for a novillero to be considered a bullfighter). “The alternative” in Spain is only granted in this square. 

The first bullring was set up in 1737 next to the mouth of the Manzanares River. Its structure was made of wood and was circular in shape.

The next one was built in 1749, being the first permanent bullring. It was built at the request of the King Fernando VI and its architects were Juan Bautista Sachetti, Ventura Rodríguez and Fernando Moradillo.

In the year 1860 the city began its expansion due to the increase in its population, it is for this reason that the engineer and architect Carlos María de Castro proposed to relocate the bullring behind the Retiro Park.

In the current location of the Palacio de Deportes, a new plaza with a capacity for 12,000 spectators was begun in 1872. It would serve as a reference for the construction of most of the Spanish squares until its closure.

Recent bullring History

The arena began to be built during the dictatorship of General Pinto de Rivera and culminated in the Second Republic.

José Espeliú and Manuel Muñoz Monasterio were the architects and also responsible for designing the Santiago Bernabéu stadium. The idea of ​​​​building this bullring was born from the bullfighter José Gómez.

The first bullfight in Las Ventas was held on June 17, 1931 in order to raise funds for unemployed workers. Recognized bullfighters such as Marcial Lalanda and the Mexican Fermín Espinosa participated in the bullfight.

Short time after and during the Civil War, part of its facilities were destroyed and it was used as a prison, an arsenal of weapons and to keep animals and after the Civil War.

Structure, distribution and Museum

With neo-Mudejar style (arab based), it has a metallic structure and a brick facade with ceramic coats of arms that represent all the Spanish provinces that also has become a unique space where bullfights are held with great figures of modern and contemporary bullfighting.

The square has 4 floors and its circular galleries are distributed in 10 layouts that are grouped into 3 zones:

  • Shadow areas – lines 9, 10, 1 and 2
  • Sun zone – lines 4, 5, 6 and 7
  • Sun and shadow area – lines 3 and 8

The Bullfighting Museum

Inside the Plaza in addition to a chapel, the bullfighters’ room, the corrals, the infirmary, the slaughterhouse and the offices of the Center for Bullfighting Affairs of the Community of Madrid you can find the museum.

Other plans to do in Madrid 

There are not many tourist places near the Plaza de Las Ventas, but you might be interested in this plan, to visit Madrid in 1 day or these tips for your first visit to Madrid.

Our accommodations in Madrid

In this area we have apartments for months in the Centro area, the for months in the Retiro area and as a quieter and less touristy area you can consider the ones in the Salamanca district. For a short stay we have apartments for days next to Calle Serrano and Paseo de la Castellana.