Hospital de Santa Cruz, Toledo, Spain

Category: Toledo

Are you planning to visit the exquisite and very charming city of Toledo during an upcoming family excursion?  Could you benefit from some ideas regarding what to do and see during your stay?  Toledo is a city steeped in history and tradition; a city that dates back to Roman times, perhaps even earlier.  Because of its extensive existence, it seems that everywhere you turn in the city presents a new opportunity to revisit a piece of its history, by exploring some of the buildings and monuments that have survived over the many centuries.  One such landmark is the Hospital de Santa Cruz, a structure from the 16th century that now houses one of the city’s most impressive museums.  To help you become more familiar with this popular site, below we have provided a brief overview of the Hospital de Santa Cruz, including some information regarding its history and architecture, and a description of some of the essential works that make up the museum’s collection.

Hospital de Santa Cruz:  Overview

History and Architecture

The Hospital de Santa Cruz was constructed at the behest of Cardinal Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza.  It was built in the early 16th century, between 1504 and 1514, by Enrique Egas, who combined a variety of architectural styles to complete the project.  Some of the highlights of the building are its stunning Plateresque façade and coffered ceilings, which artfully blend both the Renaissance and Mudejar styles of architecture. Near the entrance to the old hospital is a grand staircase, the work of the renowned Spanish architect Alonso Covarrubias, and a perfectly landscaped courtyard, complete with Ionic columns and arches.

Museum

In 1961, the Hospital de Santa Cruz was converted into a large museum; a museum that brought together the collections of the former Provincial Archaeological Museum and the Museum of San Vicente Parish. Today the museum’s collection is divided into three major sections or components:

  • Archaeology.  This section of the museum is devoted to relics and artifacts from the Roman, Visigoth, Moorish, Jewish and Mudejar cultures.
  • Fine Arts.  This portion of the museum features an extensive and very precious selection of 16th and 17th century paintings from Toledo, including many works by the likes of Tristan and El Greco, Toledo’s most noteworthy artist who called the city home for most of his life and career.
  • Industrial Arts.  The Industrial Arts section consists of works that showcase popular culture and traditional local crafts, including pieces made from ceramics, glass, fabric, wrought iron and precious metalwork.

Some of the most popular works in the Museum de Santa Cruz include:

  • Well Parapet.  From the Industrial Arts collection, the Well Parapet is representative of the Islamic culture in Toledo.  It was created to celebrate the end of construction of a water tank in the mosque complex of Toledo.
  • Christ of the Light.  This piece/image is perhaps the best example of Gothic sculpture contained in the Santa Cruz collection.
  • Hercules.  Made of Roman bronze, the figure of Hercules corresponds to the model of “Hercules Gaditanus,” a figure widely revered in the Hispanic territories during the Roman Empire.  It was found during an archaeological dig in the nearby town of Talavera de la Reina.
  • The Assumption Oballe.  This El Greco painting, which synthesized all of his work to that date, was completed the year before his death and is widely considered one of his greatest masterpieces.

The Museum of Santa Cruz is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 6:30 PM and Sunday from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, excluding major holidays.  Admission is free.