If you happen to be a lover of all things historical, especially then Spanish inquisition, then you have definitely embarked upon the right place. The three-culture city known as Toledo in Spain features the epitome of historical brutality, we all know as Museo de la Tortura. Located in the fearful persecution site from one of the darkest historian periods called the Spanish Inquisition in Castilla-la-Mancha, this museum is famous for its artefact displays along with an array of diverse European powers.
What does Museo de la Tortura offer?
The Museo de la Tortura’s exhibit projects various insights from this dark period and is laid across five spacious rooms. The museum is known to exhibit multiple methods of executions and tortures from that period, which is sure to make you stop and gasp in wonder. The artefacts displayed across these rooms will take you for a ride to that historian era where you will get to feel the torture that every victim would go through during their execution. While you get to tour throughout the museum, you will come across various descriptions of different tools used to kill these victims. These descriptions are written in English and Spanish.
First, let’s go back to Spanish Inquisition and get a historical insight before proceeding to the tools!
The Spanish Inquisition was active from 1478 to 1834 and was established in Spain to deal with heresy. It was done to consolidate the monarchs so that they could channel more power to rule the empire. Unfortunately, the monarch could only monopolize their rule through the extreme methods of brutality.
As the desire for religious unity became consolidated, the Jewish community started becoming a plausible target. They started getting threats and were forced to convert to Christianity. This happened because the Jews grew in numbers, and anti-Semitism evolved from time to time. As a result, the Jews who were forced to convert would practice their faith in secrecy. The nominal converts from these practices, known as Marranos, had become an even more significant threat to the monarch. Hence, the Inquisition became a centralized and absolute regime, especially in Aragon.
The first lot of the inquisitors were so brutal that Sixtus IV had to intervene to garner control over the situation. He was put in an absolute position by the Spanish Government in 1483, where he was bound to summon this movement in Castile. As a result, Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia were put under the same Inquisition power, and a general for the same was bought in Castile.
The condemned, or the victims, would generally be present before the royalty and a large crowd. The proceedings of these events were almost festive, and the brutality that was induced on these people was perceived as a source of happiness by the masses. The number of burnings at these events is rumored to be estimated at about 2000. If you consider the deaths that only went through the due process, then the total number of deaths over the years would be around at least 30000, and it could go up to over 3,00,000; otherwise.
What kind of tools does Museo de la Tortura exhibit?
The Museo de la Tortura projects weapons and tools that are bound to send shivers down your spine. While it is home to infamous devices from the medieval times like the iron maiden and the rack, it also swanks about torture devices that are lesser known to humankind.
Some of these devices include the chair of Judas and the choke pear. These instruments showcase and speak quintals about the torturous movements that used to take place within the Inquisition boundaries. Some of these devices boast about the sadistic inventiveness of the victims’ tortures during those times. Some were even designed to address specific offenses, and they were built in a way so that the victim suffered for a prolonged period before dying.
On the other hand, the thumb vice was often used to force repentance or confession out of a victim. These devices were purely installed to inflict pain without letting the victim die. The main aim was to extract as much information from the victim before sending them over to their respective death phases. The interrogation seats would be heated from before and lined around with spikes before the victim would be put in.
Some torture devices like the garrotte vil were meant for prolonged purposes and would be used on the victim even after their respective confessions were made. The neck crushing collar was used in Spain as recently as the 1970s!
The side room exhibits tools and devices that were meant to be equally brutal and features iron shame masks that stripped the wearer of their self-esteem and inflicted an extreme amount of pain if they tried to retaliate. It also exerted a pain that was burdensome to the victim’s intimate areas.
The museum also exhibits the executor’s axe and hooded garb along with the tattered garment worn by the prisoners, better known as the sambetino.
You should know that even if Museo de la Tortura exhibits torture devices, it does not sensationalize what the victims or the prisoners used to go through during those times. It only projects the stark reality of the past and takes you on a ride to the brutality of the Inquisitorial era of Spain.
Toledo is best known for its durable steel and hence features many museums that display artefacts and swords from the medieval times. Suppose you happen to be a fan of historical events or an individual fascinated by what museums have to offer. In that case, you should go on a trip to Toledo and visit Museo de la Tortura. The facts, as mentioned earlier, will definitely help you with every information you need to know before you tread on this museum. With five pounds as an entry fee, you will be able to get a first-hand experience of the brutalities of Spanish history.