The philosopher José Ortega y Gasset said that to truly understand the Spanish you first have to understand the bullfight. Many Spaniards detest the corrida, but if you want to get some understanding of it, a tour of this grand, neo-Mudéjar bullring is a good place to start. Huge and rather desolate when there are no crowds around, Las Ventas is Spain’s largest ring, with a capacity of 24,000. It opened in 1931 with the intention of offering affordable entertainment to the masses, and tickets for bullfights are still available for as little as 8€, rising to around 200€ for the best seats. There are fights every Sunday at 7pm from March through October, and one every day during the Fiesta de San Isidro in May. Self-guided tours begin at the Puerta Grande, through which victorious matadors emerge shoulder-high only if they receive the highest honors from the President. A “point and click” audioguide takes you through the ring, the stands, and the chapel where matadors pray alone before the fight. There’s a good explanation of the technicalities and traditions surrounding the corrida, and a heavy dose of propaganda about the bull’s high quality of life prior to the ring. For a few euros more you can pose for a green screen photograph which produces a remarkably convincing picture of you—in a suit of lights, muleta in hand—taking on a bull.