Alcazar of Toledo seen from the distance
Alcazar of Toledo seen from ‘Mirador del Valle’

This magnificent monument is the representation of the passing of the centuries. The hill of Toledo, surrounded by the Tajo river (with amazing panoramic views) , has been an excellent defense for many of the cultures that have dominated the centre of the peninsula.

Destroyed many times by fires, wars and new uses, very little remains from the origins of the Alcazar.

The four façades are different, and the four towers can been seen from a very long distance. It remains as an iconic and eternal symbol of Toledo.

Tajo river and Alcantara bridge, with the castle in the distance.
The castle seen from the Alcantara Bridge

History of the Alcazar

Roman Praetorium

In the year 192 b.C. Roma conquered Toledo and in this location they stabilized the fortification as headquarters of the army.

Visigothic Palaces

After the Roman fall, and since the year 507, the Visigoths were established in the Iberian peninsula. They had their royal palaces in this location as well.

Islamic Castle

The Muslim kingdom of Toledo suffered many attacks, not only by Christians, but even more by other Islamic powers, like the Emir of Cordoba. Defenses where extremely important and even a new wall was erected in this area.

Medieval Christian Castle

Alfonso VI conquered Toledo in 1985, and the castle was then used by the following Christian dynasties.

Palace of the Emperor Charles V

Known as Charles I King of Spain, and Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire, this powerful King did important changes in Toledo, and he commissioned the construction of a renaissance palace on the previous castle. It was built by Juan de Herrera (the architect of El Escorial) and Alonso de Covarruvias (a prolific architect in Toledo).

Patio of the castle with a Charles V bronce sculpture
Patio of the Alcazar with the sculpture of Charles V

Rebels headquarters during the civil war

The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) had many battlefields, but the Siege of the Alcazar was particularly memorable. The Rebels (who wanted to get rid of the democratically elected republic) entrenched themselves in the Alcazar, and the Republicans did the siege.

Museum, Library and iconic symbols of the Toledo skyline

Nowadays the Alcazar holds the Museum of the Army.

If you have just one day in Toledo this museum is too large to visit, I recommend you to visit instead the rest of the city, specially the Primate Cathedral, other smaller nice museums in Toledo, and specially stroll around the narrow streets.

The Alcazar also has a public library, with a cafeteria on one of its towers.

rooftop of the Alcazar and views of Toledo
Views from the library’s cafeteria

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Categories: Art and History