About Alcazar of Toledo
The Alcazar of Toledo, or the Toledo Fortress, in Spain is a square fortified building with imposing towers sitting high atop a hill overlooking the city.
History of the Alcazar of Toledo
Dating back to the 3rd century Roman era when it was used as a palace, Abd ar-Rahman III was the one to turn the palace into a fortress in the 10th century. Under the rule of Alfonso VI and Alfonso X, it was heavily altered and restored. It was once again restored under Charles V in 1535, with each ruler adding different elements to its design. It was at the Alcazar that Charles received Hernan Cortés following his conquest of the Aztecs.
As a result of this different building patterns, each of its four facades bears a different style, including Renaissance, Plateresque, medieval and Churrigueresque, making the Alcazar of Toledo architecturally as well as historically fascinating.
During the Spanish Civil War, the Alcazar of Toledo was the site of the dramatic Siege of Alcazar, when the Nationalist Colonel José Moscardó Ituarte managed to hold the fort despite fierce attempts by the Republicans and, according to legend, maintained this control despite the kidnap and subsequent shooting of his son – bullet holes are still visible today. The Siege of Alcazar turned this site into a symbol of Spanish nationalism.
The Alcazar of Toledo today
Today, the Alcazar houses a mammoth military museum – it’s not just for military history buffs however. There’s a great exhibition on broader Spanish history through military actions, and most of the signage is both in English and Spanish.
The museum is closed on Mondays, and entry is free on Sundays.
Getting to the Alcazar of Toledo
The Alcazar is pretty hard to miss – it looms above the rest of the city, slap bang in the middle of it. There’s parking off the Calle de la Union and multiple buses stop on the Zocodover. The main station is a 20 minute walk away: regular trains depart to Madrid, an hour away.
Your guide to the top Spanish Civil War sites to see, from the Alcazar of Toledo to the ruins of Belchite, all telling the story of the nation's passionate and politically divisive conflict.