|Worn and empty benches in the Santamaria bullfighting plaza.|
|The entrance to the Moorish Santamaria Plaza.|
But since late last year the plaza has sat sadly empty and unused, except for occasional visits by tourists and bullfighters practicing their passes. It's a sad state for one of Bogotá's historical, architectural and cultural landmarks. The stadium was built in 1931 by cattleman Ignacio Sanz de Santamaría, who went bankrupt doing it, and has been the scene of landmark events such as the launch of Jorge Eliecer Gaitan's presidential campaign and a 1950s political massacre by henchmen of dictator Gustavo Rojas Pinilla.
It also has been South America's most important bullfighting arena, hosting immortals such as Manolete, José Tomás and Colombia's Cesar Rincon.
|A statue of Cesar Rincon, |
Colombia's most famous bullfighter.
In 2013, Petro installed an ice skating rink in the plaza during the normal bullfighting season - which just happened to make bullfighting impossible. Some of us suspect that the renovation plan is really yet another maneuver to prevent bullfights, and that once renovated, the plaza will no longer be useful for bullfights.
The bullfighting stadium is a handsome landmark with a great location, so it's a tragedy that it sits nearly unused. With a simple facelift it'd be an excellent site for concerts, cultural events - and even bullfights. But closing the place for four years and spending a small fortune on it isn't the way to get the most out of the plaza.
|Ignacio Sanz de Santamaría, a cattleman who donated the land and built the stadium - and went bankrupt in the process. The stadium carries his name.|
|Cracks and weeds in the stands.|
|The empty arena, except for a few bullfighters practicing.|
|A plaque commemorating Jorge Eliecer Gaitan 1948 launch of his presidential campaign.|
|A plaque commemorating Manolete, one of history's greatest bullfighters, who fought here.|
|Pepe Rincon, a Colombian bullfighter who was killed fighting in Manizales.|
|The presidential boxes.|