Amazing Architecture Around the World

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Plaza de Toros, bull ring, bullring, Malaga, Spain
Málaga

Málaga

This stunning 1876 Mudéjar revival stadium, known as La Malagueta, seats more than 9,000 spectators. Visitors can also get a distant view into the ring from upper-level rooms at the adjacent Hotel Maestranza or along the steep walkway up to Málaga's castle ruins. A museum at the bullring is dedicated to the great 20th-century matador Antonio Ordoñez, who fought more than 1,000 bulls. 960 1280

Allan Baxter/The Image Bank/Getty Images   

Seville

Seville

First opened in 1761 but not fully completed until 1881, the landmark Real Maestranza is Spain's oldest bullring still in operation and one of its most prestigious. A fascinating tour goes behind the scenes to illuminate the history and artistry of the spectacle. 960 1280

Izzet Keribar/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images   

Madrid

Madrid

Built in the majestic Mudéjar revival style in 1929, Las Ventas is Spain's largest bullring. Some 25,000 spectators crowd into every event to see the country's top matadors face the best bulls. When there's not a bullfight, visitors can tour the ring with an audio guide. 960 1280

Kasto80/iStock/Getty Images   

Ronda

Ronda

Inaugurated in May 1785, Ronda's Real Maestranza bullring was the home turf of Pedro Romero, the superstar matador of the late 18th century and a favorite subject of the painter Goya. Each September, the Goyesca Festival includes a day of bullfights in 18th-century costume. The colorful museum traces the evolution of bullfighting from the mythical past to contemporary matadors. 960 1280

Ayhan Altun/Gallo Images/Getty Images   

Pamplona

Pamplona

Ernest Hemingway made the Running of the Bulls famous in The Sun Also Rises and Death in the Afternoon. On the mornings of the San Fermin Festival in July, hundreds of spectators run through the streets with 6 bulls and 6 steers. Their destination is the city’s 1922 ring, where the bulls will meet their fate in the afternoon. 960 1280

Javier Soriano/AFP/Getty Images   

Mijas

Mijas

The small oval bullring with seats at each end is a good example of the old-fashioned bullrings that used to be in every Andalusian village. Already a popular tourist destination, Mijas fills up with tour buses every weekend from Easter until October to give Costa del Sol visitors a taste of authentic bullfighting. 960 1280

Lattitude Stock/Patrick Ford/Gallo Images/Getty Images  

El Puerto de Santa Maria

El Puerto de Santa Maria

The 12,000-seat stadium in this small sherry-making town on the Bay of Cadiz is one of the sport's most celebrated venues — in part because it's in the heart of bull-breeding country and gets some of the fiercest animals. Built in 1880, the building is noted for the beautiful ceramic tiles around its exterior. 960 1280

Cristina Arias/Cover/Getty Images   

Jerez de la Frontera

Jerez de la Frontera

Originally the home of chivalric bullfighting from horseback, Jerez eventually embraced the Ronda style, in which the matador faces the bull with only his cape and sword. The major bullfighting season at this 1894 bullring coincides with the Horse Fair in May. 960 1280

Europa Press/Getty Images   

Granada

Granada

This majestic Mudéjar revival bullring from 1928 has a grand entrance and 3 soaring levels. Several popular restaurants and bars fill its exterior walls. Like those in Seville and Ronda, the Granada arena is a rare bullring still operated by one of the regional Royal Cavalry societies (Real Maestranza de Caballeria) created by King Felipe II in the 17th century. 960 1280

Jose Luis Roca/AFP/Getty Images   

Linares

Linares

Most hard-core fans of the corrida, or “bullfight,” eventually come to see a program in the 1867 bullring of Linares. A bronze statue out front memorializes the great matador Manolete, who was fatally gored here in 1947, setting off 3 days of official national mourning. 960 1280

Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images   

Valencia

Valencia

Bullfighting in Valencia dates back to Neolithic times, and even in more recent centuries, fights took place in public squares with temporary fencing. Opened in 1859, this 10,500-seat bullring, which is modeled on the Roman Colosseum, starts the season earlier than most, with bullfights during the Las Fallas festival in March. 960 1280

Allan Baxter/The Image Bank/Getty Images  

Bilbao

Bilbao

Although bullfighting is often associated with southern Spain, Bilbao has an enthusiastic fan base for the spectacle, as well as the largest bullring in the Basque Country. The original 1882 stadium burned down in 1961 and was replaced the next year by the unabashedly modern Plaza de Toros de Vista Alegre, which seats more than 14,000 people. 960 1280

Blom UK/Getty Images   

Barcelona

Barcelona

A favorite concert venue of the late, great flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia, Plaza de Toros Las Arenas ceased to hold bullfights in 1977, long before the government of Catalonia outlawed the spectacle. In 2011, it was transformed into the 6-story Arenas de Barcelona shopping center by British architect Richard Rogers. 960 1280

Robert Marquardt/Getty Images   

Revelers throw tomatoes on each other during the world's biggest tomato fight at La Tomatina Festival in Bunol, Spain. 960 1280

Getty Images   

Up to 45,000 people from all over the world descend on the small town near Valencia, Spain, each year. 960 1280

Getty Images   

Approximately 100 tons of rotten and over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets. 960 1280

Getty Images   

The weeklong festival kicks off on the last Wednesday in August, and includes music, parades, dancing, fireworks and food (other than tomatoes). 960 1280

Getty Images   

No one knows why Tomatina started, but one popular theory dates its origins to a parade back in 1944 or 1945 in which young men started a brawl and armed themselves with tomatoes from a nearby vegetable stand. 960 1280

Denis Doyle  

Banned by Spanish dictator Francisco Franco for lacking religious significance, the festival returned in the 1970s, and is in honor of the town's patron saints, Luis Bertran and the Mare de Deu dels Desemparats (Mother of God of the Defenseless), a title of the Virgin Mary. 960 1280

flydime, wikimedia commons  

Around 11 a.m., the first event begins in the center of town, Plaza del Pueblo, where trucks have hauled in over 100,000 tomatoes. 960 1280

flydime, wikimedia commons  

Officially, the fight begins after the palo jabón, a 2-story greased pole with a ham at the top -- although the festivities will start whether or not a climber knocks the prized ham off the pole. 960 1280

flydime, wikimedia commons  

Shopkeepers use huge plastic covers on their storefronts in hopes of protecting them from the festival’s tomato-splashed aftermath. 960 1280

flydime, wikimedia commons  

Tomatina lasts for exactly 1 hour, signaled by the firing of water cannons. Fire trucks then spray down the streets to flush away the tomato residue. 960 1280

Getty Images   

Photos

Málaga

Málaga

This stunning 1876 Mudéjar revival stadium, known as La Malagueta, seats more than 9,000 spectators. Visitors can also get a distant view into the ring from upper-level rooms at the adjacent Hotel Maestranza or along the steep walkway up to Málaga's castle ruins. A museum at the bullring is dedicated to the great 20th-century matador Antonio Ordoñez, who fought more than 1,000 bulls. 960 1280

Allan Baxter/The Image Bank/Getty Images   

Seville

Seville

First opened in 1761 but not fully completed until 1881, the landmark Real Maestranza is Spain's oldest bullring still in operation and one of its most prestigious. A fascinating tour goes behind the scenes to illuminate the history and artistry of the spectacle. 960 1280

Izzet Keribar/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images   

Madrid

Madrid

Built in the majestic Mudéjar revival style in 1929, Las Ventas is Spain's largest bullring. Some 25,000 spectators crowd into every event to see the country's top matadors face the best bulls. When there's not a bullfight, visitors can tour the ring with an audio guide. 960 1280

Kasto80/iStock/Getty Images   

Ronda

Ronda

Inaugurated in May 1785, Ronda's Real Maestranza bullring was the home turf of Pedro Romero, the superstar matador of the late 18th century and a favorite subject of the painter Goya. Each September, the Goyesca Festival includes a day of bullfights in 18th-century costume. The colorful museum traces the evolution of bullfighting from the mythical past to contemporary matadors. 960 1280

Ayhan Altun/Gallo Images/Getty Images   

Pamplona

Pamplona

Ernest Hemingway made the Running of the Bulls famous in The Sun Also Rises and Death in the Afternoon. On the mornings of the San Fermin Festival in July, hundreds of spectators run through the streets with 6 bulls and 6 steers. Their destination is the city’s 1922 ring, where the bulls will meet their fate in the afternoon. 960 1280

Javier Soriano/AFP/Getty Images   

Mijas

Mijas

The small oval bullring with seats at each end is a good example of the old-fashioned bullrings that used to be in every Andalusian village. Already a popular tourist destination, Mijas fills up with tour buses every weekend from Easter until October to give Costa del Sol visitors a taste of authentic bullfighting. 960 1280

Lattitude Stock/Patrick Ford/Gallo Images/Getty Images  

El Puerto de Santa Maria

El Puerto de Santa Maria

The 12,000-seat stadium in this small sherry-making town on the Bay of Cadiz is one of the sport's most celebrated venues — in part because it's in the heart of bull-breeding country and gets some of the fiercest animals. Built in 1880, the building is noted for the beautiful ceramic tiles around its exterior. 960 1280

Cristina Arias/Cover/Getty Images   

Jerez de la Frontera

Jerez de la Frontera

Originally the home of chivalric bullfighting from horseback, Jerez eventually embraced the Ronda style, in which the matador faces the bull with only his cape and sword. The major bullfighting season at this 1894 bullring coincides with the Horse Fair in May. 960 1280

Europa Press/Getty Images   

Granada

Granada

This majestic Mudéjar revival bullring from 1928 has a grand entrance and 3 soaring levels. Several popular restaurants and bars fill its exterior walls. Like those in Seville and Ronda, the Granada arena is a rare bullring still operated by one of the regional Royal Cavalry societies (Real Maestranza de Caballeria) created by King Felipe II in the 17th century. 960 1280

Jose Luis Roca/AFP/Getty Images   

Linares

Linares

Most hard-core fans of the corrida, or “bullfight,” eventually come to see a program in the 1867 bullring of Linares. A bronze statue out front memorializes the great matador Manolete, who was fatally gored here in 1947, setting off 3 days of official national mourning. 960 1280

Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images   

Valencia

Valencia

Bullfighting in Valencia dates back to Neolithic times, and even in more recent centuries, fights took place in public squares with temporary fencing. Opened in 1859, this 10,500-seat bullring, which is modeled on the Roman Colosseum, starts the season earlier than most, with bullfights during the Las Fallas festival in March. 960 1280

Allan Baxter/The Image Bank/Getty Images  

Bilbao

Bilbao

Although bullfighting is often associated with southern Spain, Bilbao has an enthusiastic fan base for the spectacle, as well as the largest bullring in the Basque Country. The original 1882 stadium burned down in 1961 and was replaced the next year by the unabashedly modern Plaza de Toros de Vista Alegre, which seats more than 14,000 people. 960 1280

Blom UK/Getty Images   

Barcelona

Barcelona

A favorite concert venue of the late, great flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia, Plaza de Toros Las Arenas ceased to hold bullfights in 1977, long before the government of Catalonia outlawed the spectacle. In 2011, it was transformed into the 6-story Arenas de Barcelona shopping center by British architect Richard Rogers. 960 1280

Robert Marquardt/Getty Images   

We enjoy gazing at the stunning Spanish architecture of Antonio Gaudi's Casa Batllo (pictured) and Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. 960 1280

  

We enjoy sipping a glass of wine and eating thinly sliced jamón serrano, a type of dry-cured Spanish ham. 960 1280

  

We love Spanish actors who've made it to Hollywood, including Javier Bardem and his wife Penelope Cruz. 960 1280

Getty Images  

We can't forget about the Spanish explorers who became the first to discover the Mississippi River (pictured), the Amazon River, Antarctica, Puerto Rico and many other places around the world. 960 1280

David Elfering  

Gazspatcho is a tomato-based, raw-vegetable soup that originated in the southern region of Andalusia, Spain. We love this cool and refreshing summer dish. 960 1280

  

We marvel at the culinary skills of Spanish chef Jose Andres, who owns Café Altantico, Zaytinya, Jaleo, Oyamel and Minibar by Jose Andres. His restaurants serve a variety of delicious cuisines. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Tapas, appetizers or snacks in Spanish cuisine, have become a part of the US dining experience, and it's another tasty reason why we love the Spanish. 960 1280

  

Sangria is a mixture of red wine, sliced fruit, brandy and triple sec. Eating a mid-day meal with a tall glass of sangria encourages a nice siesta. 960 1280

  

Spain has a variety of tasty wines and vineyards, but Priorat, a comarca or county in Catalonia, is one of the best and most beautiful wine districts in Spain. 960 1280

  

It's the fast and furious! Motorsports have become very popular in Spain. The country has hosted 3 Grand Prix motorcycle races. Race-car driving also gained 1,000s of new fans after Fernando Alonso Diaz won the Formula One World Driver's Championship 2 years in a row. 960 1280

© Albert Gea / Reuters, Reuters Picture Stream/MED  

We love the spectacle of a bullfight and how the matadors skillfully dodge the horns of a charging bull. 960 1280

  

What traveler doesn't dream about relaxing on a beautiful beach in Spain? Paradisiac Beach is located on the coast of Ibiza. 960 1280

RUBEN GUTIERREZ  

We enjoy topping off a big dinner late at night by ordering the flan, a popular Spanish dessert. 960 1280

  

Spanish-Mexican tenor Placido Domingo is just one of several talented voices that inspire us to sing -- even if it's in the shower. And we can't forget about other famous singers like Jose Carreras, Julio Iglesias, and for the young pop music fans, Enrique Iglesias. 960 1280

Getty Images  

We enjoy visiting opulent castles in Spain, including Alcazar in Segovia (pictured), Palacio Real in Arajuez or Alhambra in Granada. 960 1280

  

We enjoy watching the intense passion between two Flamenco dancers. The dance originated in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia in the 18th century. 960 1280

Albert Kerstna  

Women love fashion designer Manuel 'Manolo' Blahnik Rodriquez and his designer shoes, which have increased in popularity after several guest appearances on the TV show 'Sex in the City.' 960 1280

Getty Images  

We appreciate Pablo Picasso's artwork, as well as other Spanish artists including Salvador Dali, El Greco and Francisco de Goya. And travelers from around the world head to Spain to experience these museums: the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Museo del Prado in Madrid, and the Dali Museum in Figueres. 960 1280

© Arnd Wiegmann / Reuters  

11 Photos
Matadors Prepare to Fight

Matadors Prepare to Fight

Each morning, 6 bulls run through the streets of Pamplona from their corral to the bullring, where, later in the afternoon, a bullfight completes the ritual. 960 1280

Getty Images  

San Fermin's Chupinazo

San Fermin's Chupinazo

Revelers are sprayed with water as they celebrate during the "Chupinazo," which marks the start of the San Fermin Festival in front of Pamplona's town hall with the launch of a firecracker. Tens of thousands of people pack the streets for the kick-off to Spain's most well-known fiesta. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Parade of Gigantes y Cabezudos

Parade of Gigantes y Cabezudos

Each morning is celebrated with the parade of "gigantes y cabezudos" or "giants and big heads." The huge figures are more than 150 years old and roughly 13 feet tall. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Running of the Bulls on Santo Domingo Street

Running of the Bulls on Santo Domingo Street

Runners sprint alongside bulls on Santo Domingo Street, rounding the infamous "Dead Man's Corner," named for its slippery, sharp turn. 960 1280

Reuters  

A San Fermin Bullfight

A San Fermin Bullfight

The picador, on horseback, helps the matadors during the first stage of the bullfight. He uses a lance to prod the bull, causing the animal to straighten its charge toward the matador and lower its head to prepare it for the next stage of the fight. Multiple bullfights are performed throughout the days of the festival. 960 1280

Getty Images  

The Pena Voladora Parade

The Pena Voladora Parade

On the first day of the festival, the Pena Voladora parade makes its way along Estafeta Street in Pamplona, Spain. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Woodchoppers Compete in the Aizkolaritza

Woodchoppers Compete in the Aizkolaritza

Woodchoppers carve tree trunks in the Aizkolaritza, a Basque wood-chopping competition that's just one of the many events during the San Fermin Festival. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Revelers in the Streets of Pamplona

Revelers in the Streets of Pamplona

Festivalgoers hold up their red handkerchiefs, known as pañuelos, during opening day. 960 1280

Getty Images   

Runners on Estafeta Street

Runners on Estafeta Street

A fighting bull collides with runners along Estafeta Street during the San Fermin Festival. 960 1280

Getty Images   

Fireworks over Pamplona

Fireworks over Pamplona

Fireworks mark the end of the festival's first day, before participants rest up for another day of running for their lives through the northern Spanish streets. 960 1280

Getty Images   

Toro del Fuego

Toro del Fuego

A Toro del Fuego, or flaming bull, is run through the streets of Pamplona on the second day of the San Fermin Running of the Bulls, with kids and adults alike dodging the flying sparks. 960 1280

Getty Images  

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