Arenas de Barcelona (Las Arenas at Placa Espanya) is a modern shopping, leisure and cultural centre.
The original building of Las Arenas, initially designed for traditional bullfights, was completely renovated and re-opened in 2011.
It is truly an architectural masterpiece and a place to visit, even if you are not planning to shop there.
The old building had a capacity of 16,000 and was opened in 1900, it became the most important Spanish bullfighting arena.
As time passed, public interest in corrida declined, and the last bullfight took place there in 1977.
Architects from different continents offered several ambitious renovation projects to bring Las Arenas back to life as the building had been empty for a long time.
This extraordinary engineering experiment, supervised by Richard Rogers, began in 2003 and aimed to restore and preserve the original façade. It is the only part that has kept its historical look.
The new construction consists of three independent and very colourful parts:
1) The main underground and ground levels
2) A metal framework
3) The historical façade with stripy arches
All the internal parts of the original construction (including the foundation of the building) were demolished, and the façade was fixed at the initial height with steel arches. This gives the illusion of the arena hovering in the air.
Inside the building, space is divided into several levels. Supermarkets and small cafes are in the basement; shops are on the ground and 1st floor; a 12-screen cinema occupies the 2nd and 3d floor.
You will find the Flamenco museum and a gym with beautiful views of Barcelona on the 4th floor.
There are 7 great restaurants at the very top of Las Arenas plus a popular tourist attraction – the open observation deck with panoramic views of Placa Espanya, Montjuic mountain, Palau Nacional and the whole of Barcelona!