Las Ventas is the biggest bullring in Spain and the third in the world, behind the one of Mexico DF and Valencia (in Venezuela). But Las Ventas is considered to be the most important in the world: the bullring where the greatest bullfighters have to prove their skills.
Today, Las Ventas hosts dozens of bullfights per year, especially in spring during San Isidro’s Fair. But this building is also used for other purposes, such as concerts, sport events or circus shows, for example. The seating capacity of Las Ventas is 25.000.
Las Ventas is located straight down Alcalá Street (number 237), where the borough of Salamanca ends. The best way to get there is by subway: lines 2 and 5 stops in Las Ventas Metro Station.
History of Las Ventas
Madrid has had several bullrings in the last centuries. But in the 20s of 20th century, the City Council and the inhabitants of the capital realized that a new one had to be built because bullfighting became a mass phenomenon. That’s when they decided to initiate the works of Las Ventas, projected by José Espeliú. They started in 1922 and finished in 1931.The first bullfight in Las Ventas had a charity purpose.
Las Ventas is mainly built in brick, which gives the building an original red tone. Besides, there is a beautiful ceramic work in this bullring, setting other colours on the facade, such as blue or green. Las Ventas was projected in Neo-Mudejar style, that is, an eclectic style that was inspired on the Moorish art in Spain.
During all these decades, the best bullfighters have performed in Las Ventas: Joselito, Luis Miguel Dominguín, Paquirri or José Tomás, among others. Ernest Hemingway, a bullfighting lover, was one of the most illustrious spectators of Las Ventas during his trips to Madrid in the mid 20th century.
Nowadays, the most important bullfights in Las Ventas hold in spring (May and June), during San Isidro’s Fair. The central date is May 15th, when bullfighting lovers look forward to the best bullfighters and the bravest bulls. Besides this, the general season starts in March and ends in October, with bullfights many weekends.
Las Ventas, today and tomorrow
Nowadays, Las Ventas hosts many other shows, especially when the bullfighting season is not on air. Many concerts hold here and some of the greatest bands and musicians have played in the ring of Las Ventas: Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Coldplay, Diana Ross, Mark Knopler and so on.
Las Ventas often hosts sports events as well. For example, the final of the Davis Cup in 2008: Rafa Nadal and the Spaniards beat United States in a clay court that was set here. Besides, every year Las Ventas celebrates the Red Bull X Fighters, a trial motorcycle competition where the best pilots shock the public with their jumps.
Las Ventas is also famous because many circus companies set their attractions in this ring: jugglers, clowns, wild animals, music, fire and the magic of this world.
But Las Ventas has a problem: it is always aware of the weather. If it rains, the show must be cancelled or becomes not so special. That’s why Madrid’s Government decided to roof the building in order to organize more events during autumn and winter months. A French company projected this canvas roof and started to assemble it with one condition: it could not be seen from outside. They do so but on 2013 January 28th it broke down and fell off. It is still not clear why this happened and when they will resume the works or even if they will someday.