"La Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas" was built in 1929 and was inaugurated in 1931. It is the most important bullring in the World, a temple for real 'aficionados' who know how to appreciate a good bullfight, who relate to the fierceness within the 'matador' and who wait in anticipation for the bullfight to progress according to tradition.
This bullring was designed by an architect called Espeliú. Its style
is Mozarabic with pottery incrustations. It has a seating capacity for
25.000 spectators. The seats are situated in 10 "tendidos". The price
of the seats depend upon how close they are to the "arena" and whether
they are in the sun or the shade (the latter being more expensive).
The bullfighting season starts in March and ends in December, and are
celebrated everyday during the San Isidro Fiesta, and every Sunday or
holiday during the season. Bullfights start at 6 or 7pm and last for
two to three hours.
BRIEF HISTORY OF LA PLAZA DE TOROS DE LAS VENTAS
From 1913 to 1920, the national celebaration gained such an important status that, in Madrid, the bullring situated in Carretera de Aragon was not big enough. It was Jose Gomez "Joselito" who declared that a new monumental bullring had to be built, to open this piece of heritage and culture to the whole city of Madrid. His friend and architect Jose Espeliu began work the project.
A family called Jardon ceded the land to the Deputation of Madrid, provided that they could run the arena for fifty years. The deputation accepted the proposal on November 12th 1920, but none of the three decisive members of this project (Joselito, Mr. Jose Espeliu and Mr. Fernando Jardon) were to fulfil their dream. On March 19th 1922, in the exact center of the prospective arena, the first stone was placed. The construction of the bullring would cost 12 million pesetas (4.5 more than they first thought), and it would replace the old bullring, that dated back from 1874. The Republic affected the shows in a negative way. Attendance decreased and less bullfights took place, this being the reason why people didn't feel the need for a new bullring during next few years.
"La Monumental de las Ventas" was finished in 1929 and two years later, June 17th 1931, a charity bullfight was held with a sell-out capacity to inaugurate it. This inaugural bullfight was presided, in the main box, by the President of the 2nd Republic, Mr. Niceto Alcala Zamora, helped by ex-bullfighters Rafael Guerra "Guerrita", Antonio Fuentes, Vicente Pastor, Ricardo Torres "Bombita", Rafael González "Machaquito", Manuel Rapela "Bienvenida" and Antonio Guerrero "Guerrerito". The bullfighters who were part of the "cartel" that day were Diego Mazquirán "Fortuna", Marcial Lalanda, Nicanor Villalta, Fausto Barajas, Luis Fuentes Bejarano, Vicente Barrera, Fermin Espinosa "Armillita" and Manuel Mejias "Bienvenida". The first bull in the new bullring was "Hortelano", from Duque de Veragua (Juan Pedro Domecq now); Telesforo Aguilera "Aguililla" punished the first bull with the lance, and Alfredo Gallego "Morato" was the first "banderillero". The municipal band gave a concert while people arrived at the arena, the "pasodoble" "España cañi", from Marquina, being the first song played in the new bullring.
However, this bullfight proved that the space surrounding the bullring was obviously not big enough. However this problem was not solved until 1935, when the first bullfighting season took place as normal. The Civil War stopped the season until May 24th 1939, with an extraordinary bullfight with six bullfighters: Marcial Lalanda, Vicente Barrera, Pepe Amoros, Domingo Ortega, Pepe Bienvenida and "El Estudiante".
La Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas is divided in a ring or "arena", and a group of dependances called "patios". Its architecture is mozarabic, with pottery incrustations with the shields of the different Spanish provinces on them. The "arena" has a diameter of 60m. The seating capacity is divided in 10 "tendidos" (group of 27 rows around the "arena"), some of them in the shade and the rest in the sun. The prices of the tickets are more expensive in the shade and in the rows which are nearer to the "arena" or crowned by bleachers, gradins, boxes and covered grandstands.
In the 10th "tendido" there is the Official Box, where the President (the authority who directs the show and guarantees its normal development), the Civil Governor, the Mayor, the advisor and the duty vet sit during the show.
In "Las Ventas" you can also find a small hospital and the chapel. The chapel has two operating rooms, the doctor´s office and a waiting room. In a Mexican style, it was built by the architect Manuel Muñoz Monasterio, which has a painting of "La Virgen de la Paloma" in the altar.
There are 8 "corrals", one covered and the rest uncovered. The biggest "corral" is the one used to make the bulls enter the bullring. From the nearest corrals to the bullring you can see how the bulls are separated. These corrals are communicated with a central corridor under "tendidos" 2 and 3, which allows the eviction of the rejected bull directly from the arena. Between the corridor and the door to the "arena"there is a rectangular space called "toril", where an "insignia" of the cattle breeding is pierced on the back of the bull before it jumps into the "arena".