Close to Malagueta beach we find the capital’s majestic bullring, inaugurated in 1876 and designed by Joaquín Rucoba, is an impressive 16-sided building that also houses the Antonio Ordoñez Bullfighting Museum. At the museum visitors can browse through a collection of old bullfighting outfits, photographs, posters and ornaments that cover the rich history of one of Spain’s most controversial traditions.
The bullring, built in Neo-Mudejar style and with a seating capacity of 15,000, has seen glorious bullfights starring great bullfighters like Curro Romero, Manolete, El Cordobés, etc.
The origins of bullfighting date back to the Romans, who according to historians, staged Spain’s first ever bullfight. Bullfighting was originally a sport for the aristocracy and took place on horseback. King Felipe V took exception to the sport and banned the aristocracy from taking part, believing it to be a bad example to the public. After the ban commoners accepted the sport as their own and, since they could not afford horses, developed the practice of dodging the bulls on foot, unarmed. This transformation occurred around 1724.
This bloodsport is still hugely popular today and is considered to be a contest of strength, skill and bravery between man and beast.