Standing proudly on a hill overlooking the town, this impressive 16th-century edifice once served as a palace and now hosts a fascinating military museum.
Toledo’s imposing stone Alcázar, which sits high on a hill overlooking the city, offers fascinating insight into local history as well as stunning views over the town itself. Ascend to the 1,798-foot (548-meter) hilltop where the structure is set to browse exhibits featuring everything from military uniforms to medal exhibits covering important chapters from Spanish history.
The majority of the current Renaissance building dates from the 16th century, though there has been a fortification on this site since Roman times. Although the current building was conceived as a royal palace, it never actually served as one, with the Spanish capital having been moved to Madrid before it was finished.
When Emperor Carlos V ordered the construction of the current Alcázar, the previous structures were mostly destroyed to make way for it. Not all traces of the earlier fortification have been removed, however. Examine the eastern façade of the fort to find battlement structures from the earlier medieval iteration.
As you explore, take note of the architectural features, many of which represent different phases of construction. The main entrance, characterized by a Roman arch, was the work of the original architect Alonso de Covarrubias, while the south façade was later completed by Juan de Herrera.
Venture inside to survey the collections of the military museum. Inspect knives, swords, flags, medals and other military memorabilia as well as the remains of old Roman and Moorish constructions.
While here, learn about the fascinating history of the Toledo Alcázar, which played a key role during the early days of the Spanish Civil War. Famously, during this time, the military governor of the province of Toledo, Colonel Moscardó, refused to surrender the Alcázar in return for his son’s life. The Alcázar was heavily damaged during this siege. View a recreation of Moscardó’s old office inside the museum.
Thanks to its imposing hilltop position, the Alcázar of Toledo is difficult to miss. The fortress is open every day except Wednesday. Go on Sunday to take advantage of free entrance. A fee is charged on all other days, though children always enter for free.