The Roman Circus of Toledo was built during the 1st century, during the mandate of the emperor Augustus or the emperor Tiberius. Possibly, its construction was included within the plan that the emperor undertook by all the Empire to endow to all the great cities of public buildings, like thermaes, theaters, amphitheaters, or forums, with the aim of promoting the Romanization in these zones. In particular, the Roman circus was located in the north of the Roman city.

Given the size of the Circus, as it happened in almost all Hispanic-Roman cities, it was located on the outskirts of the walled enclosure. It is certain that from the city there was a causeway to the circus, which has not been found.

Archaeology

Although little investigated, since more than half of the infrastructure still remains without excavating, its similarities with other circuses of the peninsula, like the one of Emerita Augusta, allow to affirm that its capacity had to be between the 15,000 or 30,000 spectators, which initially proved sufficient to meet the needs of the city as well as other surrounding towns. The Roman circus had dimensions of 422 meters long by about 112 meters wide.

With the information available, it is not known that the Roman Circus of Toletum was used for naumachia (recreation of naval battles) as it happened, for example, in the Roman circus of Tarraco.

The decline of the building arrived with the arrival at the Christianity that rejected this type of events. Finally, it was with the arrival of the Visigothic domination when it ended up being abandoned. From this moment, the expolio of the sillars of granite that covered the Opus Camenticium to re-use it in other constructions. This expolio will extend during practically all the High Middle Ages.

During the Muslim stage, at least initially, the stands of the Circus were used by merchants to locate their establishments there. Later, the Arabs used the circus like cemetery, of which can be observed to the naked eye many vestiges. Currently, the medieval cemetery remains there, which makes the archaeological park an important medieval cemetery.

During the Late Middle Ages, it is possible that the plunder would end, although the buildings were abandoned on the outskirts of the medieval city, which made it easier for the inhabitants to bury them and the Toledans forget the location of these.

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Details

Founded: 0-100 AD
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Spain

Rating

4.1/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

BGhidra (15 months ago)
Incredible place
Paul Davies (17 months ago)
Amazing scale, seek out the boards for more info and the insight into the history of the rise and fall (and partial rise again!)
Karol Kuś (2 years ago)
Place which is worth to see being in Toledo, giving imagination by the size.
Adam (2 years ago)
Definitely worth seeing. Near historical part of the town, just a few steps from the city walls. Could be some more information about the Circus and its history on the info board. Anyways, you can imagine how impressive it was back in the days. The park itself is clean, and, what I found curious, there's only one lawn - most of the area is the sand. Some interesting trees around there, like the black mulberry for example.
Jerry Hanson (4 years ago)
Toledo doesn't much promote these Roman ruins. They've put a little effort into preserving them but there's not much interpretation laid out at site. What there is has graffiti.
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