The Las Ventas


by Jack Wright
Photos: J. Wright


Many from the outside – and even local folk– can’t conceive of Spain without bullfights or corrida de toros. And since the bullfighting season is now about to start – it begins in March and ends in October – we thought we’d share some bullfighting stuff with you that are peculiarly Spanish. We’re calling the mini-series “MARCH SPECIAL: BULLFIGHT IN SPAIN.”  In the next installment, we’ll be showing you the Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas del Espiritu Santo (The Taverns of the Holy Spirit Bullring) as seen from the outside. Located in the heart of Madrid, Las Ventas is the home of bullfighting in Spain and, hence, the world.

066 MatadorLas Ventas is a beautiful neo-Mudejar building. Mudejar is an architecture and decorative style resulting from the symbiotic mixture of Western (Christian) and Islamic cultures that flourished from the 12th to the 16thcentury when Spain was overrun by the Moors. (Actually, they ruled Spain from the 8th century to the end of the 15th. That’s a lot of centuries!)

Las Ventas is the biggest bullring in Spain and the third in the world, the biggest being the one in Mexico City and the second the Plaza Monumental de Valencia in Venezuela. Las Ventas seats 25,000 spectators.

It is every bullfighter’s ultimate dream of whatever nationality to be borne victoriously on the shoulders of aficionados from the ring to the Puerta Grande (the “Big Door”) of Las Ventas, for having performed magnificently in one afternoon during the world-famous San Isidro bullfighting festival. The matador exiting through the Puerta Grande after a magnificent performance is the height of glory. Previously, he will have been awarded “two (bull) ears” by the admiring crowd.

067That’s bullfight a lo grande!

The San Isidro festival, honoring the patron saint of Madrid, is the world’s most important bullfighting event. It’s taking place this May.

More on San Isidro as we get closer to the date of the feast.