Alcázar de Toledo

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Alcázar de Toledo

At some point in history, people stopped building castles and started building palaces, either because they felt safer or because modern artillery made castles redundant.

The Alcázar of Toledo is a halfway house between castle and palace, although during the Spanish Civil War it back-graded to its role of castle when the Nationalists were besieged by the Republicans and held out, much to the greater pleasure of Franco’s regime, which would later print a propaganda newspaper called El Alcázar as a tribute to the defenders of their very own Alamo. On 18th September 1936 Asturian miners detonated a bomb which largely destroyed the castle, which was visited on 21st October 1940 by none other than SS leader Heinrich Himmler, looking for inspiration no doubt. The Alcázar really does make an excellent distant backdrop for whatever else is going on in the foreground, with its distinctive turrets; and that is what it has mainly been used for in a number of films. The original Alcázar of Toledo was once a Roman palace in the III century. Restored under Charles I and his son Philip II in the 1540s. In 1521, Hernán Cortés visited Charles there following his conquest of the Aztecs. The castle was rebuilt between 1939 and 1957 after the Spanish Civil War.