The Alcazar in Toledo is a palace built by Carlos V that today is home to the incredible Spanish Army Museum, the Museo del Ejercito, and the Castilla La Mancha Library. An imposing Spanish Renaissance style palace, the Alcazar was intended to be the new royal residence. However, by the time it was finished it had been decided that Madrid was to be the capital and it was therefore never used as a residence by the Royal Family except by some of Spain's widowed queens who lived here after their husband's deaths. The Alcazar was put to use for military purposes and has been the Crown Prison, army barracks and the Spanish Infantry Academy.
Reconstructed in 1940, a monument to those who defended the Alcazar during the Civil War was put in place in 1961. Inside the Alcazar today, the Army Museum is a fascinating journey through centuries of Spanish military history. One of the oldest museums in Spain, the Army Museum houses thousands of exhibits including knives, swords, armour, artillery, guns, flags, uniforms, medals and much more, predominantly from the 19th century onwards but also from medieval times. There are also some ethnographic exhibits from various cultures. English audioguides are available and much of the displays have English translations.