The Alcázar is located in the highest part of Toledo, a privileged part of the city that was first settled in Roman times. It was not until the 16th century that Charles V and Philip II ordered the construction of the Alcázar, with Alonso de Covarrubias and Juan de Herrera being the chief architects.
The building has been marked by various historical events (the War of Succession, the War of Independence, etc.) being besieged, set on fire, etc.
Following its partial destruction during the Civil War, military engineers began its painstaking re-construction, a task that was structured in 12 phases and not completed until the 1970s.
Its current appearance is one of an imposing building with four outer walls, each with a different artistic style, which has been given various different uses. Infantry Academy, Siege Museum, Military Government, administrative military offices, library... and now home to the Army Museum. On the top floor is the Library of Castilla la Mancha, the state Library, managed by the Board of the Government of Castilla la Mancha.
The permanent exhibition of the Army Museum at its new venue in the Alcázar in Toledo will occupy a total surface area of 8000 sq. metres, which means an increase of 230% with respect to the area available for such purposes in the Salón de Reinos (Hall of Realms) in Madrid.
The greater amount of space available will lead to a new approach in museum design that is much more in keeping with current trends, enabling a number of specific objectives to be met:
• To portray the history of the Spanish Army as part of the history of Spain itself.
• To highlight the contribution of the Army to the birth, constitution and development of the nation and Spanish state.
• To publicise military contributions to institutional, social, scientific and cultural progress in Spain.
Thus, the aim is to establish a space for communication between the Army and society, and to turn the Army Museum into a major cultural centre, pivot and reference point for culture and Spanish military museums.