The building, constructed in a Neo-Mudejar style and which formerly held bullfights in the city, is today a spectacular shopping centre. Apart from preserving its beauty, the conversion has restored a roof terrace that offers wonderful views over Parc de Montjuïc and Barcelona.
A unique centre
The former bullring in Plaça Espanya, Les Arenes, is today one of the most important and popular shopping centres in the city, both for the locals and tourists. Its history as a bullring dates back to 1900, when it was built by the architect August Font i Carreres in traditional Neo-Mudejar style, making it one of the most important bullrings in Spain.
Apart from bullfighting, the ring has witnessed a number of difficult circumstances in the course of Barcelona's history, being converted into barracks for the republican side during the Civil War. It later became the setting for boxing, circus and festivals. In the 1940s and 50s it was equipped with a detachable velodrome to enable cycling events to be held, at a time when competitive sports started to become fashionable in Catalan society.
The last bullfight was held in 1977 with the bullfighter José Manuel Dominguín, among others. The ring then fell into disuse until 2007 when the decision was made to convert it into a shopping centre. Curiously, the architects Richard Rogers and Alfonso Balaguer decided to maintainthe old facade and add a roof in the shape of a dome, from where the best views of Barcelona can be seen.
The shopping centre has shops, cinemas, and all kinds of services which, combined with the beauty that has been preserved, have made it very popular.