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Historias de las plazas de Málaga

As has happened in so many cities with taurine histories, there were a number of different places where corridas de toros were celebrated before there was the permanent plaza de toros that we have today.

Let’s look at these first arenas

– The first place that we know of where there were taurine celebrations is the Plaza de las Cuatro Calles, today known as Constitución. Moreover the street called “Toril” marks the área where the chiqueros (holding pens for the bulls) were when this plaza was active in about 1492.

– There was a Project in 1774 to build a plaza de toros in an eliptical shape, but it was never realized.

– At the end of the 18th century, a wooden plaza de toros with a capacity of 5,000 was constructed next to the old Convent of Carmen.

-In 1817, another wooden plaza de toros was built near the Mediterranean Sea and it would become known as the plaza de toros of the Pescadería (Fish Shop).  It held more people than the first plaza, and eventually it was replaced by a smaller one in the Puerta Nueva, which put on only novilladas and minor spectacles.

-In 1849, the plaza de toros of Álvarez was inaugurated. It was situated next to the Convent of San Francisco. The inaugural cartel was comprised of the matadors Montes and Parra, along with bulls from the ganadería of Alvareda. It was made of masonry and brick, with the grada (second tier) being made of wood. It lasted less than 15 years before it was demolished in 1864 by its own proprietor who became furious when a corrida was suspended in order to “keep public order”. It held 12,000 people.

– The replacement for this was the plaza de la Victoria, which had characteristics of a theater but also  acted as a plaza de toros. It held only 3,000 people and because this was insufficient, it was decided to build a new plaza de toros.

Plaza de toros de La Malagueta

-The place chosen to erect what would be Malaga’s  definitive plaza de toros was a the small field where the Reding ferris Wheel was located, more commonly known as the Malagueta. The City Council decided to spearhead the project and undertook the work in collaboration with the Provincial Diputación of Málaga. Once the plaza was completed, the City Council gave their portion to the Diputacion in settlement of an old debt. The Diputacion thus became the sole proprietor of the plaza.

-The current plaza de toros “La Malagueta” is the work of the architect Joaquín de Rucoba y Octavio de Toledo. It is in the Neo-mudéjar style and is a regular polygon with 16 sides, with the ring having a diameter of  52 meters. The work was completed in only two years. The building has a ground floor, a mezzanine and two upper floors. It was inaugurated June 11, 1876 with bulls of Murube for matadors Manuel Domínguez ‘Desperdicios’, Antonio Carmona ‘El Gordito’ and Rafael Molina ‘Lagartijo’. It originally held 11,000 spectators.

-During its 140 years of history, the Malagueta has had a number of modifications to reinforce its structure and to transform its adjacent buildings. For example, between 1930 and 1940, there was a sginificant change to finish off the facade by plastering it and painting it white, just as you see it today. The corrals were also modified at this time, although it was not until the 60’s that the number of corrals was augmented significantly.

-The plaza de toros of the Malagueta was declared a Spanish National Heritage Site in 1981.

– Today it is still owned by the Provincial Diputación of Málaga, which has announced a major renovation through 2019 in order to have events in the plaza all year long, in addition to taurine events.

-The plaza now has 10,401 seats.

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Companies that have managed the Malagueta

From 1937 to 2000

Martín Family

The plaza was in the hands of the Martín family, specifically Manuel Martín Estévez who managed it until 1962. Then Manuel’s son, Manuel Martín Alemán, managed the plaza until 1984, at which time his son, Manuel Martín Gálvez, took over until 2000.
From 2000 to 2006

Martín Lorca

After three generations of the Martin family, José Luis Martín Lorca, a ganadero (breeder of fighting bulls) and businessman, took over runing the plaza.
From 2006 to 2011

Puche, Rivera Ordoñez, Conde y Casas

The next manager of the Malagueta was the partnership formed by Fernando Puche, Francisco Rivera Ordóñez, Javier Conde y Simón Casas.
The 2012 season

La Casa Chopera.

The Chopera family was the manager.
From 2013 to 2016

Compañía del Coso de Badajoz.

The plaza was managed by José Cutiño as the head of the company “Coso de Badajoz”.
From 2017 to 2019

Toros del Mediterráneo.

Today the Malagueta is run by Toros del Meditérráneo Ltd which has a contract through 2019.