Toledo, Puerta del Sol

This gate is problematic. Why was it built? The story this building tells is full of inconsistencies. Today, at least, the road which parallels the path that passes through the gate is not protected by a gate, yet the curve of the wall tells us that it was built so. That wall that might have continued around the corner is gone today, if it ever existed at all. The gate incorporates several defensive works, including the crenellations, so it appears that the gate was probably built initially for defense, which at least implies the former existence of the continuing wall.

Notice also that stone channels still exist at the narrowest part of the gate. These were almost certainly guides for the gate, which was hoisted up into the tower above during the day. This detail is almost certain evidence that this gate was once a vital part of the city's defenses.

Notice that the city's shield has been carved into the wall above the gate as a proud advertisement of the city's charter. During medieval times, cities were not so readily granted charters, which were favors of the ruling monarch and of great economic importance - a chartered city was empowered to levy taxes to support itself.

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Text ©2001-2002 J.Crawford