Reclaiming Historic Buildings, Promoting Cultural Expression

Nuevo Circo de Caracas is an old bullfighting ring located in Libertador municipality in western Caracas.


Nuevo Circo de Caracas is an old bullfighting ring located in Libertador municipality in western Caracas.

On January 17, 1916, under the dictatorship of General Juan Vicente Gomez, the Federal District City Council approved a contract between Juan Crisostomo Gomez (then governor of the Federal District and brother of General Gomez) and General Edward G. Mancera, which commissioned the design (by architects Luis Alejandro Muñoz and Tebar Chataing), and construction of the Nuevo Circo de Caracas bullfighting ring. Featuring a capacity of twelve thousand spectators, and built in neo-Moorish style, the bullfighting ring was finally opened to the public on Sunday, January 26, 1919.

The contract signed between Governor Gomez and Mancera provided for the use of the building by the contractor for a thirty years period, after which it would be transferred to the Municipality of Caracas.  In November 1927 Mancera sold the rights to Colonel Gonzalo Gomez, (the son of General Gomez), who two years later, in 1929, also managed to acquire the land from the Municipality of Caracas, becoming the sole owner of the property. In 1940, Gonzalo Gómez left the country and sold the Nuevo Circo de Caracas to businessman Luis R. Branger.

For many years the Nuevo Circo de Caracas was the main entertainment centre of the Venezuelan capital, and was used for boxing, wrestling, theatre and cinema. However, over the years it fell into disuse and disrepair and was finally closed down by its private owners in 1997. On October 8, 1984 the National Protector Board and Curator of Historical and Artistic Heritage of the Nation declared the building to be a “National Historic Monument” a ruling which was successfully appealed by the private owners the following year. A new ruling of the municipal government in 1987 again promoted a conservation measure which was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1998. Anticipating the possibility of demolition, that same year the Cultural Heritage Institute declared the site to be “of Cultural Interest.”

In 2005 the Metropolitan Council, under former Mayor of Caracas, Juan Barreto, initiated a process of expropriation and began a restoration project through the Metropolitan Institute of Cultural Heritage in Caracas.

Today, the building falls under the jurisdiction of Municipal Government of Libertador and is in excellent state of preservation under the care of the Nuevo Circo de Caracas, Nucleus of Endogenous Cultural Development (NEDC).

The Nuevo Circo de Caracas NEDC facilitates free dance, theatre, music, yoga, visual arts and circus arts workshops open to the community, and holds regular artistic and cultural events in the building.