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.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

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

Rating

4.1/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

BGhidra (2 years ago)
Incredible place
Paul Davies (2 years 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 (3 years ago)
Place which is worth to see being in Toledo, giving imagination by the size.
Adam (3 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 (5 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.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Kraków Cloth Hall

The Cloth Hall in Kraków dates to the Renaissance and is one of the city's most recognizable icons. It is the central feature of the main market square in the Kraków Old Town (listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978).

The hall was once a major centre of international trade. Traveling merchants met there to discuss business and to barter. During its golden age in the 15th century, the hall was the source of a variety of exotic imports from the east – spices, silk, leather and wax – while Kraków itself exported textiles, lead, and salt from the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

Kraków was Poland's capital city and was among the largest cities in Europe already from before the time of the Renaissance. However, its decline started with the move of the capital to Warsaw in the very end of the 16th century. The city's decline was hastened by wars and politics leading to the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century. By the time of the architectural restoration proposed for the cloth hall in 1870 under Austrian rule, much of the historic city center was decrepit. A change in political and economic fortunes for the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria ushered in a revival due to newly established Legislative Assembly or Sejm of the Land. The successful renovation of the Cloth Hall, based on design by Tomasz Pryliński and supervised by Mayor Mikołaj Zyblikiewicz, Sejm Marshal, was one of the most notable achievements of this period.

The hall has hosted many distinguished guests over the centuries and is still used to entertain monarchs and dignitaries, such as Charles, Prince of Wales and Emperor Akihito of Japan, who was welcomed here in 2002. In the past, balls were held here, most notably after Prince Józef Poniatowski had briefly liberated the city from the Austrians in 1809. Aside from its history and cultural value, the hall still is still used as a center of commerce.

On the upper floor of the hall is the Sukiennice Museum division of the National Museum, Kraków. It holds the largest permanent exhibit of the 19th-century Polish painting and sculpture, in four grand exhibition halls arranged by historical period and the theme extending into an entire artistic epoch. The museum was upgraded in 2010 with new technical equipment, storerooms, service spaces as well as improved thematic layout for the display.

The Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art was a major cultural venue from the moment it opened on October 7, 1879. It features late Baroque, Rococo, and Classicist 18th-century portraits and battle scenes by Polish and foreign pre-Romantics.