Tarraco Arena Plaça's History
Some chronicles state that work on the Plaza de Toros de Tarragona, now the Tarraco Arena Plaza (TAP), began as far back as 1881. It was the brainchild of Félix
Donoso, who had been mayor of Tarragona during the First Republic, and the work was quickly commissioned to Ramón Salas Ricomà, regarded as the greatest
architect in the city at the time.
Thus began the work on a building on land formerly occupied by the bastion of Orléans, on the outskirts of the city. The area was still uninhabited, but it was very well connected, as it lay near the crossroads of the Reus and Valls roads. The City Councilussued a building permit in February, 1883 and the bull ring was officially opened for the Santa Tecla festivities in mid-September.
The ring had 3 floors (the top two were covered) and an arena with a diameter of 55 m. The walls were built with local white stone and red bricks, and the facade was comprised of a 48-sided polygonal ground plan with a diameter of 95 m. Another noteworthy highlight is the fact that the ring, with an initial capacity for 17,000 spectators, was one of the first works of the so-called New Modernism in the counties of Tarragona.
The construction left the builders heavily indebted. It eventually fell into the hands of a bank that also went bankrupt, and just as rumours were already hinting at a possible demolition, it was bought by the County Council of Tarragona for 1.5 million pesetas in 1949. The bullring’s golden age began two years later, as thousands of people flocked to see some of the best bullfighters in the world.
Moreover, ever since it was built, and until the present day, the Plaza de Toros de Tarragona has staged all kinds of shows and festivals: bullfighting, circus, theatre, festivals, rallies, sardana dancing or carnival figure processions, to name but a few.