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

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User Reviews

Rachael Harrison (6 months ago)
Roman ruins right in the middle of the city. They aren't walled off so you can get right in amongst them! There are plenty of information boards around to give plenty of info in both Spanish and English. Opens until 22:00 in winter and 24:00 in summer so a great place to wander around on a summer evening when it cools down a bit.
ruud sluijtman (2 years ago)
some ruins are still visible
F Grogan (2 years ago)
As an example of the many fantastic Roman ruins in Spain, this is probably the worst! Luckily theres plenty of other things to do and see spitting distance away!!
Dean Lyons (3 years ago)
Amazing find on the outskirts of the old city. Definitely worth a visit. The history is fascinating and the circus is in better condition than the one in Rome. Unbelievably you can climb all over it. In many counties this would be their prized national monument! Unfortunately the information signs are bit hard to find. You kind of feel they should make more of it, but I guess Toledo has so much history!
Neill DeVall (3 years ago)
Very nice park containing some large parts of the stands, particularly the semi circular end. Worth a look if passing by.
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