If you know Toledo or if you look at the photographs of this audio guide, you will have noticed that Toledo is on a mountain with a lot of land around it, right? Well, now let's imagine what that meant when neither aeroplanes nor satellites existed, to have the control of the highest point in an area like this, it was very important in military matters.
Many people have passed through here, and it seems that everyone agreed on the strategic importance of this place. Also, the Romans, the Arabs and the Christians, they all understood that in the area where a fortress was built, a citadel needed to be created that, in the event of a siege, served as a refuge for the defenders. This way the resistance would hold for a longer time and reinforcements could be expected while the enemy had a more difficult time trying to take the fortification.
And that’s exactly what has happened in the history of this place. The last siege was in the sad year 1936, when the rebel troops against the republican government locked themselves up in the Alcázar and resisted for seventy days in an episode that for the pro-Franco propaganda was to become a powerful symbol.
But, going back time before, we were telling you that the fortress belonged to the Romans first, then the Visigoths and later the Muslims. Well, in 1085 Alfonso VI arrived and made the city surrendered without a fight, which marked the beginning of an extended period in which a lot of kings, from Alfonso X to Isabel and Fernando, kept adding things to the monument. Now a carpet, then a lamp and then a few tons of stones…
The times of the mighty Hapsburg came, and Toledo, like many other Castilian cities, rebelled against the Emperor Charles V. The Alcázar was, once again, one of the fighting scenarios and the place from which the Emperor, once the Revolt of the Comuneros was over, led the affairs of the empire on many occasions. Of course, Charles also started some renovations in the building that were continued by his son; and, of course, the mysterious architect Juan de Herrera would also leave his mark on the Alcázar.
Did the monument finally have a quiet season? Yes, but nothing lasts forever: a fire at the time of the Napoleonic invasion was going to leave it in an awful estate. And when, after many decades, it was possible to be rebuilt, again came the flames and again the fortress was shattered.
What you see now is, almost totally, the result of the rebuilding that took place after the Civil War, in 1936, which left the area destroyed. A siege that today is the closest and most bitter reference of the place.