The strategic position occupied by the former Santa Fe convent, looking out over the countryside from the gates of the citadel, made it a highly desirable enclave dating back to prehistoric times and throughout those long periods of history in which Toledo played such an important role. In fact, the Santa Fe convent could be seen as a synthesis of the city’s cultural diversity and richness. On the site of the first Visigoth settlement, the structural foundations of the convent began with the construction of a palace during the 9th to 10th centuries – the time of Emir Abd al-Rahman II –alongside the city wall. The palace was extended and enriched in the 11th century by the Taifa king of Toledo, Al Ma’mum.
Once reclaimed from Islamic rule, it became a residence for Castilian monarchs, including Alfonso X the Wise, who was born and lived there. It later became home to the Order of Calatrava which left a strong architectural imprint on the building, including the apse and the room of polylobulated arches already mentioned. In the second half of the 15th century, on the orders of Isabella I, the Order of the Immaculate Conception moved into the building, making it the mother house of the Order founded by St Beatrice of Silva, responsible for the delicately carved, polychromatic ceilings in the entrance rooms to the museum. The Order of Santiagoarrived at Santa Fe in 1503, and developed the convent into what we see today, a building constructed around a cloister, although building works extended into the 18th century, which was when the Baroque staircase was created. As a result of religious confiscations, the nuns of the Order of Santiago were obliged to leave the convent in 1855.In 1873 the Ursuline Sisters of the Holy Family of Loreto moved in, converting the building into a school, which it continued to be until its closure in 1973 when this historical property was acquired by the government of Castile-La Mancha. It remained in a state of abandonment until 2000, when the Spanish Cultural Heritage Institute (IPCE) began a restoration programme, completed in 2003.
Now, with its transformation into the museum of Colección Roberto Polo. Centro de Arte Moderno y Contemporáneo de Castilla-La Mancha a new chapter is being written in the history of Toledo. Today, in a world where art and shrines dedicated to artare taking the place of religion and worship in our universal geography, Toledo finds itself once again at the forefront of contemporary life