Frontón Beti-Jai – Madrid, Spain - Atlas Obscura

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Frontón Beti-Jai

Stuck in the middle of a modern Madrid city block are the remains of a 19th century sports complex. 


As of February 2016, a reconstruction project is currently underway, and a fence seals off the entryway to the public.

Boxed in by buildings on all sides, the ruins of Madrid’s Frontón Beti-Jai sports complex is a hidden relic right in the heart of a bustling modern city.

Originally built in 1894, the arena was one of many in the city, all built to answer the demand of a populace who were crazed about sports. Four floors of audience stands were built, curving in a j-shape at one end of the field, able to accommodate around 4,000 spectators. In addition to sports, the arena saw concerts, horse shows, and political rallies among other events.

The fun and games came to an end in 1936 when the a civil war broke out and the former sports complex was converted into a makeshift police station. This would be the last time the space was actually used. By the late 1970s, the inter-urban space had been abandoned. Despite a number of failed rehabilitation proposals over the year, the Frontón Beti-Jai still lies empty today. 

Update as of June 2021:  The reconstruction project is mostly complete, and tours are offered through the city hall. Reservations must be made in advance and space goes quickly

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