Drawn in by the oriental looking towers we suddenly found ourselves in the bullfighting arena La Monumental, right in the middle of a residential area of Barcelona.
La Monumental is a bullfighting arena that was opened in 1914. It was designed in the late Modernisme style and has 26 rows with space for 19500 spectators. Bullfights were held here until 2011 and even today the arena looks ready so that visitors almost expect to find a snorting bull in the stables.
The bullfighting arena La Monumental can be visited. If you are lucky enough to show up for the apparently quite flexible opening hours, that is. We arrived at a time where the arena was not supposed to be open but were allowed in anyway.
Right after stepping through the entrance, visitors walk through open stands into the arena. The rows are quite steep and the balcony is partly roofed, the view down into the arena is really good.
It is possible to enter the actual ring of the arena. Behind the tall, red wooden walls that were supposed to protect the torero from the bulls, I felt small and vulnerable. I can’t really see the appeal in bullfighting but imagining to only be separated from an angry and irritable bull by a little bit of wood is quite frightening.
I admire those involved in bullfighting a little bit. Running from a bull, jumping a wall taller than yourself and hiding behind this fence for safety isn’t particularly easy to pull off, I imagine. I’m sure a lot of training was needed in advance. Taking in the view up the stands from down in the arena I get how the cheering crowds have gotten into such good moods and how the atmosphere during a fight must have been very heated.
In a small annexe of the arena is the museum. Posters and very impressive clothing of the torero are on display here. The torero attire, called “Traje de Luces“ are abundantly embroidered and adorned and must have caused quite some excitement even before the fight. The last stop of the tour was the stables that thankfully don’t hold any bulls anymore.
Useful Travel Tips
Gran Via de Les Corts Catalanes, 749
Daily: 10.00 – 14.00 and 16.00 – 19.00