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.
Gran Via de Les Corts Catalanes, 749
Daily: 10.00 – 14.00 and 16.00 – 19.00
This is a great hidden attraction in Barcelona, thanks for sharing your experience and some great photos.
Mei and Kerstin
We’ve visited Barcelona many times (went there twice this year), but have never been to La Monumental. We’ve seen the outside of this building (the typical Catalan Modernismo is so beautiful, isn’t it?), but not the inside of it. It’s good to know that one can visit this place, and above all that there is NO bullfight anymore now. How the poor animals are treated is just unacceptable…
I loved Barcelona but I never went inside this beautiful building. I am now rather gutted that I did. Very glad they have stopped bull fighting here but kept it as a great building.
The architecture of this bullfighting arena interests me, especially the blue-white tiles on the facade. The date of 1914 makes it quite a modern building, then. Would love to see the inside.
This sounds like a neat tour, but I could never watch a real bullfight. I’ve heard horror stories about the ones in Spain and especially South America, but still a historic thing to check off the bucket list. Thanks for sharing. ;)
This is fascinating and such a beautiful exterior. Whether you agree with it or not, bullfighting is still part of the tradition in many areas of Spain and we can still respect that, even if it’s not something I would particularly want to witness
What an interesting site to see on a trip! I’ve never seen a bullfight or the running of the bulls (and, truthfully don’t wish to see either) but I find architecture interesting and think it would be completely unique to see a building like this. I’imagine it would be a little eerie as well, knowing the things that have happened there – like I imagine an eeriness to the Coliseum in Rome. Plus, it is something that happens in the culture and in their history, so to gain a better understanding of both, I would guess that’s a powerful place to visit!
I’m not a veggie or vegan, so I accept that I’m not free of responsibility for animals lives being given up to human consumption.
But I have never understood the “sport” of bull fighting (or trophy hunting), which seems incredibly cruel and necessary.
I can imagine it must have been quite an experience just to imagine the event, at least you did not have to witness it for real.
I have been to Barcelona several times and did not know this even existed. What neighbourhood is it in? It is a beautiful building from the outside. I would love to see the “Traje de Luces” up close! SO glad there are no more bullfights at La Monumental. Thanks for sharing!
Dana Howard Freeman
The inside of this arena is amazing. Not sure if I want to see an actual bullfight though.
Although it was interesting read, I am completely against the animal torture..