One of several surviving entrance points to the old walled city of Toledo, this imposing 16th-century gate has Moorish origins.
Puerta Bisagra City Gate is one of Toledo’s most striking historic sights. Admire the imposing towers, examine the symbols adorning the grand structure and find out more about the history of Toledo, the former capital of the Visigothic Kingdom, part of which is now Spain’s Iberian Peninsula.
Though the current structure dates back to the 16th century, remains found inside the interior indicate a gate has stood here since the period of Muslim rule several centuries prior. Its name is also thought to date from this period, coming from the Arabic word Bab-Shagra, meaning “Door of the Sacred.”
Visit today to see the newer version of the gate, which was entirely rebuilt in the 16th century. The gate was designed by Alonso de Covarrubias, the same architect behind part of Toledo’s Alcázar, which stands on a hill overlooking the city.
As you approach, note the impressive turrets of the city’s northern gate, which mark the entrance to the old part of town. Though it may look foreboding, this gate was not intended to actually function as a defensive fortification but rather to serve solely as a monument.
Get closer to the monument and try to spot some of the key symbolic details. Look for the city’s coat of arms, identifiable by the two-headed eagle at its core and found on the exterior facing away from the old city. Pass under the arch to enter Plaza de Armas, a small square surrounded by stone walls, which features a statue of Carlos V, also known as Charles V, the ruler of the Spanish Empire and the Holy Roman Empire at the time of its construction.
Continue through the square and enter the old city through the second gateway. Peer back at the other side of the gate to see the coat of arms of Charles I.
Just outside the Puerta Bisagra City Gate at the edge of Paseo de la Vega sits a tourist information office. Stop by here to pick up information on the attractions of Toledo’s old town before venturing back through the arch to explore. The best way to discover this part of the city is on foot.