Puente de San Martin, Toledo, Spain

Category: Toledo

Are to planning to visit Spain on an upcoming holiday or business trip, specifically the beautiful city of Toledo and the surrounding region?  Need some ideas with regards to what to do and see while visiting this fine city?  Toledo is a great destination that has long been a popular tourist haven for locals and visitors alike.  It is situated just 43 miles from Madrid—making it a perfect daytrip locale for those staying in the Spanish capital—and although it is fairly small in terms of total area and population, there are literally hundreds of interesting sites and attractions located within its ancient walls; sites that are significant from both a cultural and historical standpoint, with many dating back hundreds upon hundreds of years.

Among Toledo’s many impressive aspects is the manner in which the city was designed and built:  For strategic purposes, it was founded on the banks of the great Tagus River, the longest river in the Iberian Peninsula, and a river whose meandering waters encircle Toledo on all but one side.  Because of this semi-enclosed construction, it goes without saying that there must be bridges to span the Rio Tagus and allow for easy travel to other parts of the country.  One of these bridges is the Puente de San Martin, which together with the Puente de Alcantara is seen as one of the most important bridges in Spain.

Puente de San Martin:  Overview

The Puente de San Martin, or Saint Martin Bridge, is a medieval bridge across the River Tagus in Toledo.  The bridge was constructed in the late 14th century, in the Gothic style of architecture, by the archbishop and architect Pedro Tenorio.  Its purpose was and is to provide access to the old town from the west, complementing the older Puente de Alcantara, which links Toledo to the east.  Although the bridge was built very soundly at the time of construction, some years later, both sides of the Puente de San Martin were heavily fortified with towers, the more recent dating back to the 16th century. These towers are hexagonal in shape and are designed to prevent access by force.

The Puente de San Martin features five arches, with the largest arch, towards the middle of the bridge, spanning an impressive 40 meters in length.  At the time of its construction, very few bridges in the world had reached that length.  The rest of the arches are approximately 27 meters in length.

The Puente de San Martin is located next to the Tower of Cava—a tower contained in the legend of Don Rodrigo—and provides stunning views of the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes and the historical heart of the Imperial City.  It also provides a birds-eye view of the majestic Tagus River and the natural landscapes of the Cigarrales.

The Puente de San Martin was declared a National Monument by the Spanish government in 1921