The Plaza de Toros Monumental was built in 1914 and is the world’s only Art-Nouveau bullring. It was the last active bullring in Catalonia and finally closed in 2011 when bullfighting was banned by the Parliament of Catalonia. The building now houses a small bullfighting museum.
Visiting the La Monumental Bullring
I’ve never been to a bullfight and have no intention of ever going to one. Having said that, bullfighting, although cruel, is part of Spain’s history and traditions and now that bullfights have been banned I was keen to take a look round the emblematic plaza.
Visiting the bullring is like walking into an abandoned factory, it’s as if the building has been closed due to the ban but could re-open again tomorrow. You can walk out into the arena, climb to the top of the stands, visit the stables and see the stalls where the bulls spent their last hours. I would have liked to have visited the chapel and surgery but unfortunately they are not open to the public.
The Bullfighting Museum
The bullfighting museum is located above the stables and contains a collection of historic matadors’ costumes from 1726 to the present day. There is also a large collection of vintage posters advertising bullfights, old photos, statues of famous matadors and bullfighting paraphernalia.
What Next for the Plaza de Toros Monumental ?
When bullfighting was banned in Catalonia I had high hopes that the Monumental bullring would be converted into an open air music venue/theatre/cinema. After all, the plaza has been used for concerts in the past including performances by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Bob Marley. The family which owns bullring also owns several theatres and cinemas, so you never know…
Unfortunately up until now there has only been rumours and speculation.
In 2014 it was reported that the Emir of Qatar had offered 2,200 million euros to purchase the bullring and convert it into a mosque, the 3rd largest in the world.
The Mayor of Barcelona has been quoted as saying that he hoped that the building would be converted into a museum.
Catalan architect Xavier Vilalta has proposed turning the bullfighting ring into an Eco-centre which he said would be “a place dedicated to life”.
Meanwhile Spanish newspapers have reported that Alicia Sánchez-Camacho, the leader of the right-wing People’s Party of Catalonia [sic] hopes that the Catalan ban on bullfighting will be overturned by the Spanish Constitutional Tribunal so that bullfighting can once again take place.
Time needed to visit
You should allow about half an hour to visit the bullring and museum.
Information in English ?
The exhibits in the bullfighting museum are labeled in English, Spanish, French and German.
Daily 11:00 – 14:00 and 16:00 – 20:00
Gran Via de Les Corts Catalanes 749, Barcelona
How to get there:
The bullring occupies an entire block right next to the Monumental metro stop – Purple line L2.
It’s a short walk (4 blocks) along Carrer de la Marina to the Sagrada Família Basilica.