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The Tavera Hospital in Toledo

The San Juan Bautista Hospital was built on the outskirts of Toledo, Spain, between 1541 and 1603 by order of Cardinal Juan Pardo de Tavera and, therefore, the popular reference to the building as the Tavera Hospital. The building is also known as the Exterior Hospital as it was literally outside the city walls of Toledo.

Cardinal Juan Pardo de Tavera had two good reasons for the construction of this structure. The first, to serve as a true hospital for the sick, since other existing facilities were mainly used as asylums. The second reason, to perform a very common practice in those times, to set a site for his grave after his death.

The building is located just outside the “Bisagara” gateway and on the original main road from Toledo to Madrid.

This Renaissance-style structure similar to the Florentine palaces is composed of a courtyard, divided into two sections by a double archway that leads to the Church from the entrance of the Hospital. The cardinal’s grave lies in front of the main altar. The church also houses the crypt of the dukes of the house of Medinaceli, owners of the property.

Inside the Tavera Hospital, we can find pieces of great value through its museums and the church contains several works by the Greek painter and architect Doménikos Theotokópoulos, popularly known as “El Greco”.

Tavera Hospital has been used as a school, specifically by the Daughters of Charity at the end of 1880. In addition, the building has also been used by the television and film industries, most recently in the filming of scenes for the television series “Aguila Roja” (2009-2016) and Carlos, King Emperor (2015-2016).

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