About Circo Romano de Toledo
Circo Romano de Toledo (Roman circus of Toledo) stands just outside the Roman walls of this Spanish city.
Circo Romano de Toledo history
Toledo was once the Roman city of Toletum and was an important regional centre and capital of the Roman province of Carthaginensis.
Very little remains of this site, but it is thought to have once been the biggest Roman Circus of the time and similar in style to Rome’s Circus Maximus.
The circus, built to host entertainment events like horse and chariot races, was likely constructed sometime in the first century, possibly under orders from Emperor Augustus, and was one of the largest of its time.
A stone inscription found records a day of games that was paid for by a resident to celebrate his elevation to the status of Sevirate or priest of high stature.
It is thought that the circus at was used until around the 4th or 5th century, after which it was mostly abandoned, save for its sporadic use as a cemetery and a potter’s colony.
The site was excavated in the early 20th century, the most extensive excavations took place in 1927 and 1929, directed by the Commission of Historical-Artistic Monuments of the Province of Toledo with Emiliano Castaños and Francisco de Borja San Román, respectively in front of them and which included a topographic survey by Rey Shepherd.
Circo Romano de Toledo today
Today, visitors can wander through the pretty modern-day park in which the circus is found and explore the ruins with ease.
The remains of the circus are mostly comprised of an array of low-lying arches from the lower levels of the structure and it gives little impression as to what the original circus would have looked like.
Getting to Circo Romano de Toledo
Toledo is around a 1 hour drive from Madrid. It is also easily accessible by public transport, particularly train and coach. The journey is 30 minutes by train from Atocha station. Toledo train station is around 25 minutes walk from the Roman Circus, there are also several buses on the route.