Puerta de Toledo

The Puerta de Toledo is located at Glorieta de la Puerta de Toledo in the southwest of Madrid. This free-standing gate is 19 metres high and is comprised of three archways. The central arch is the tallest. It has a rounded semicircular arch and was the main gateway on the road towards the city of Toledo in past centuries. It is flanked by two smaller square lintelled gateways that have ornamental columns on either side.

It is a flamboyant structure made of granite that was started in 1812 under the Napoleonic government of Joseph Bonaparte. Construction was halted following the demise of the Napoleonic government, but re-started again under the rule of Fernando VII, successor to Joseph Bonaparte. It was finally completed in 1827. The present structure underwent major renovation in 1995.

The Puerta de Toledo does not follow the original Napoleonic design. Once Fernando VII gained the throne, Antonio López Aguado was commissioned to come up with a new design. He also chose to have it built in the new materials of granite and Colmenar stone.

The south-facing side of the gate, which looks towards Toledo, has a group of sculptures sitting on top of the central arch. They were created by Ramón Barba and Valeriano Salvatierra, and they represent the power in medieval times of the Spanish monarchy in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

On the north-facing side of the gate the emblem of the City of Madrid is held up by two angels. Each of the two arches on either side of the central arch is also adorned with sculptures. These are representations of various military victories of the era.

The present structure is not the only Puerta de Toledo that has stood in Madrid. The first one stood close by the Hospital de La Latina. It was demolished during the 16th century while Felipe II was on the throne so that it could be re-built at Calle de la Sierpe, a short distance to the north of the present site.

The Puerta de Toledo is the most recently built of all the monumental gates in Madrid. If you visit the antique and crafts dominated Puerta de Toledo Market to the east of the gate, want to see the nearby Rastro Flea Market, or if you go to the Vincente Calderon Stadium to watch Atletico Madrid play football, you will almost certainly pass by the prominent landmark that is Puerta de Toledo.

To get to Puerta de Toledo you can take the Metro on line 5, getting off at Puerta de Toledo station. Alternatively, you can take a bus; numbers 3, N3, 60, 17, 18, 23, 35 and 148 will all take you there.

Since this square has its own Metro station, the area has excellent communications and is a good place to stay. There are several good, cheap accommodation options around this area:-