L'Iber Museo de Los Soldaditos de Plomo – Valencia, Spain - Atlas Obscura

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L'Iber Museo de Los Soldaditos de Plomo

From grand battles to daily life, this Spanish museum offers a view of world history in miniature. 

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Said to be the largest collection of toy soldiers in the world, plus a few dinosaurs, cartoon characters, and the Beatles in several different guises, this museum is easily missed in the old heart of Valencia. 

Whatever your interests, be it warfare through the ages, the modeling and painting of miniatures, or just wanting to see something unique, it’s worth visiting. The building itself, and the rooms, are nearly as stunning as the collection, as it is housed in a well-preserved Mediterranean Gothic-style palace. Inside, there are more than 95,000 pieces on display, some in highly-detailed dioramas.

Cabinet after cabinet is filled with inch-high models of battling men (and women) from prehistoric times (did man ever battle dinosaurs?) to World War II, although the Spanish Civil War seems to have been ignored. The first diorama portrays medieval knights on horseback jousting in front of a grandstand. Below it on a lower shelf, there is a random collection of 20th-century rock stars from the Small Faces to Prince, sadly the depiction of Peter Gabriel was spoilt by the fact that he had fallen over whilst playing a grand piano.

In other rooms we are treated to street scenes from India and China, the Ancient Greeks fill several cabinets as do the Romans. There’s a fair bit of nudity, one scene has naked ladies cavorting with half-men/half-stags. On a lighter note Asterix and his fellow Gauls fill a whole display as do a whole host of cowboys.

Possibly the grandest display is of the Battle of Almansa, which contains over 9,000 figures alone. This battle took place in Spain in 1707 and won’t mean much to you unless you are Spanish or have an interest in 18th-century history, but it’s an epic diorama all the same.

Yes, there are bigger attractions in Valencia, but if you want a change from religious iconography or 21st-century architecture, this is well worth a visit.

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April 3, 2023

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