History Mesh

Artificio de Juanelo (16th Century)

The Artificio de Juanelo was the name of two devices built in Toledo in the 16th century by Juanelo Turriano. They were designed to supply the city with a source of readily available water by lifting it from the Tagus (Tajo) river to the Alcázar. Now in ruins, the precise details of the operation of the devices are unknown, but at the time they were considered engineering wonders.

Relation to Power:

With the fall of the Roman Empire, much they had created decayed over time until it was unusable. In Spain, the Moorish state created many new devices, such as a giant waterwheel in Toledo that took over the role of a Roman aqueduct in supplying water to the city. However by the early 16th century that had been destroyed, leaving the city to haul water by ass from the river.

Although political will and financial support were at times thin, Turriano’s machines were eventually completed and operated for over fifty years after his death, the first transporting thousands of gallons a day.

Eventually however they fell into disrepair, and were disassembled or scavenged, leaving the city once more dependent on manual labour to satisfy its water needs.

Read more about Artificio de Juanelo on Wikipedia.