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I Wonder Why...?

I will be writing about aspects of Spanish history and their traditions. I am a very curious person and have always needed to know "why" they do it, and "how" it came about. So over the years while living in Spain I have made a conscious effort to discover "el porque de las cosas" and I will be sharing them with you. I hope you find it as fascinating as I do.

Toledo's Torture Museum
02 February 2018 @ 09:21


Toledo, Spain is known as the City of Three Cultures, as Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities have coexisted within its stone walls. The fortified city in Castilla-La Mancha was also the site of fierce persecution during the Spanish Inquisition. On an unassuming corner on the labyrinthine streets of the old city, the Museo de la Tortura displays artefacts from this dark period in the nation’s history and that of other European powers.

The exhibit is spread across five rooms, with insight on the Spanish Inquisition’s origins as well as its methods for torture and execution. Plaques throughout the museum offer descriptions of the tools in both English and Spanish and provide some historical background for the brutal practices of the Inquisition.

While the museum is home to infamous medieval devices like the rack and the iron maiden, it boasts a collection of lesser known instruments of torture. Pieces like the choke pear and chair of Judas demonstrate the sadistic inventiveness at work within the Inquisition, with many contraptions designed to punish specific offences or prolong suffering before death.  

  Iron Maiden                     

  Interrogation  Chair        



Tools like the thumb vice were often used to force a confession or repentance, inflicting pain without risking death on the victim. The interrogation seat was lined with spikes that could be heated before a prisoner was locked into place. Some pieces like the Garrote Vil were used long after the Inquisition had ended. The neck-crushing collar was used in Spain as recently as the 1970s.

Judas seat                                 

Shame mask                             

The side room features contraptions designed for public ridicule, including a heavy wooden barrel held on the shoulders of those accused of drunkenness. The iron shame masks were intended to humiliate the wearer, but also provided a burdensome strain on the prisoner’s body. The museum also displays executor’s hooded garb and axe as well as the tattered Sambenito, a garment worn by prisoners during their public auto-da-fé.

The museum presents its artefacts without sensationalising torture and provides a stark look at the social conditions of Inquisition-era Spain.

Like 0


Tim McGowan said:
05 February 2018 @ 10:14

I was in a similar one in Cordoba recently and it early put me off my lunch!! Its hard to believe one set of humans could be so ingenious and methodical about inflicting pain on another set of humans in the name of someone they never even met! Primeval and savage without a doubt but I guess if you don't think about it too much its of some historical interest but to me its more damning evidence of mans superstitions and ego-mania!

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