Albufeira’s bullring has closed definitively, bringing an end to the town’s controversial bullfights which had been a point of contention between animal lovers and bullfighting enthusiasts for years.
The news has been confirmed by the bullring’s new owners, who have purchased the whole complex which includes 40 apartments, a shopping centre, a movie theatre, a disco and a bingo hall.
“Our goal is to implement an urban rehabilitation project in the whole area, preserving the memory and identity of the town’s bullring,” Jorge Duarte, the Algarve spokesperson for tourism investment group Corcova, told Lusa news agency.
While he said that the future of the complex is still being discussed between the developer and the local council, he assured that the bullring will no longer be used for bullfights.
A source from Albufeira Council has also confirmed that the bullring has closed for good.
Instead, the new owners want to turn the space into “something pleasant”.
In any case, the entire complex is badly rundown and will need a revamp, Duarte stressed.
Meanwhile, another nearby plot which was used as a car park and as an area to get the animals ‘warmed up’ for the bullfights will be used to build a multistorey car park and a supermarket, said João Pedro Rosa from Metropark, the company that is developing the project.
The bullring was inaugurated in 1982 and is located at one of the town’s main entrances.
Before it closed, it was the only bullring in the Algarve that still operated regularly.
According to data from the Inspection Board of Cultural Activities (IGAC), the Albufeira bullring hosted 20 bullfights in 2019, the most out of any bullring in Portugal.
However, each show only attracted an average of 813 spectators, the sixth highest figure in the country. In fact, the number of spectators had been decreasing steadily for four years, says IGAC.
This could possibly be explained by the growing number of protests that started being held outside the bullring during bullfights, creating constant tension between demonstrators and bullfighting aficionados.