Museo del Ejercito, Toledo, Spain

Category: Toledo

If you plan to visit the city of Toledo during an upcoming Spanish tour or vacation, one of the sites you should definitely check out while you are there is the Museo del Ejercito, or Army Museum.  To illustrate why this is such a significant destination along the Toledo tour route, below we have compiled a brief overview of the Museo del Ejercito, including some facts about its location and the building in which it is housed, as well as some information regarding the impressive collection contained within the museum.

Museo del Ejercito:  Overview

Toledo’s Museo del Ejercito is one of several similar-themed museums to be found throughout Spain and Europe.  Its large collection of artifacts, a few of which we will describe in more detail below, dates back to the early 19th century through the present, and consists of hundreds of common and uncommon implements of war and war memorabilia.  The exhibits include items such as knives, swords, firearms, artillery, uniforms, flags, medals, miniatures, models, ethnographic objects, and the private collections of the Romero Ortiz Museum and the House of Dukes of Medinaceli.  Also housed within the museum’s walls are remains of old Roman medieval and modern constructions.

The building that houses the Museo del Ejercito, the famous El Alcazar, is extremely hard to miss, as it sits high on a hill overlooking the city.  This emblematic structure, with origins in the late Roman times, serves as another great reason to visit the Army Museum, especially if you are interested in ancient architecture and Spanish history.  El Alcazar was originally built as a castle/fortress during the Visigoth era to defend the city—at that time the capital city—from unwelcome invaders, and its location—on Toledo’s highest point—was selected for strategic purposes.  During the reign of Alfonso VI and Alfonso X (Alfonso the Wise)— Kings of Castile and Leon who ruled the region during the 11th century and 13th century, respectively—the structure was rebuilt and became the first square castle ever with towers erected at each of its corners.

Essential Works of the Museo del Ejercito

The Museo del Ejercito is home to hundreds of notable works and exhibits, some of which include:

  • Leather shield belonging to Cuera soldiers, also known as Presidales.  This particular leather shield belonged to the defensive equipment of Spanish soldiers who once guarded the northern border of the viceroyalty of New Spain (currently the U.S. states of Texas, California and New Mexico).
  • Japanese Dô-Maru-type armor.  The practice of collecting Japanese armor became widespread among 19th-century collectors and curators.
  • Basket for the static balloon, nicknamed the “Marie Christine.”  This basket hung below the very first aerostatic balloon—a balloon and basket belonging to the Military Aerostation Service in which the Queen Regent Marie Christine made an ascent.
  • Handwritten letter from Isabella II to Luis Carondelet and Castaños. This priceless hand-penned letter, written by Isabella II from exile requesting advice on the possible abdication in favor of her son, the future King Alfonso XII, is one of the most prized pieces housed at Toledo’s Museo del Ejercito.

Naturally, these are but a few of the many treasures to be found at the fascinating Museo del Ejercito, but whether you come to see the glorious collection, marvel at the architectural beauty of El Alcazar, or merely to obtain a breathtaking bird’s eye view of the city below, this is one Toledo attraction you shouldn’t pass up.