READ Built in the late 40s and opened on August 27th in 1950, Plaza de Toros is a historic arena in the city of Tangier. The arena is now largely neglected but a rehabilitation project finally appears to be under way.
While Morocco was under French and Spanish protectorate, an arena was built to accommodate traditional bullfighting. On August 27th, 1950, after fourteen months of work, the arena was open. Uo until 1957, the date of independance, the arena saw a buzz of activity , shortly after the arena was deserted and in time negleted all together. To breathe life into the arena, in 1970 an event was organized with the presence of bullfighter Manual Benitez Perez, better known by the name of 'El Cordobes'. The arena was installed in the neighborhood of the same name, the place was home to a large Spanish community and inhabited by ranchers and large areas of agricultural land. Due to the installation of the arena, water and electricity was accessible in the area, before this time people would draw water from wells on the hill Charf and Beni Makada.
Following a visit with Mayor Fouad El Omari and intiated by the Observatory for the protection of the environment and historical heritage of Tangier, a committee was created to make a point about the state of the league. "This Committee is composed of representatives of the local council, civil society and government departments, to carefully look into the possibility of restoring this historic site" said the mayor. The members of ths committee will explore all possibilities to revive the arena with an area of 17,000 sqm. For many years rumours have circulated about the conversion of the arena into an exhibition space and a cultural centre. Others hope to welcome a new bullfighting arena to attract Spanish tourists.
Text Julien Antinoff
Translation Karen Athwal