Toledo Tourist Information

Published on 20/10/2008 in Places of Interest

Toledo cathedralToledo is situated around 40 miles (64km) southeast of Madrid, and is capital of the Castilla y La Mancha region. This unmissable old city, surrounded on three sides by a tight bend in the River Tagus, boasts a wealth of historic attractions and artistic treasures. It is also famous for being the home of renaissance painter, El Greco, who came to the city from Crete in the 16th century.

Due to Toledo's strategic location, the Visigoths made it their capital in the 5th century AD. The Moors took control in 712AD, before the Christian king, Alfonso VI, captured the city in 1085. Toledo then enjoyed its golden age, until Philip I moved the royal court to Madrid for political reasons in 1561. Afterwards the city went into economic decline, although this has meant that many of Toledo's historic buildings have been preserved. Toledo remains the chief city of the Spanish church and seat of the Primate of Spain.

Begun in 1227 and completed in 1493, Toledo's magnificent cathedral is regarded as one of the finest in Spain. The cathedral houses a variety of artistic masterpieces, including paintings by Velazquez, Goya and El Greco. Pride of place goes to the huge golden monstrance, which is carried through the streets of Toledo during Corpus Christi.

A short distance from the cathedral is the tiny church 14th century church of Santo Tome. Tourists flock here to admire El Greco's enormous masterpiece, El Entierro del Conde de Orgaz (The burial of the Count of Orgaz). The painting depicts Saints Augustine and Stephen lowering the count into his grave. To discover more about its artist, head to the Casa y Museo del Greco in the old Jewish quarter. Although El Greco didn't actually live here, the museum contains several of his paintings. There are more examples of El Greco's work in the Museo de Santa Cruz. This former 16th century hospice, which also contains paintings by Ribero and Goya, is especially notable for its spectacular facade.

The huge Alcazar fortress, which dominates the skyline of Toledo, is famous for the Spanish Civil War. Nationalist forces, under the command of Colonel Jose Moscardo, managed to hold out against the Republicans for 68 days, although the Alcazar was almost completely destroyed in the process. Today the rebuilt fortress houses a military museum, which traces the story of the siege. There are also some magnificent views across the river valley from the Alcazar's terrace.

Toledo had a large and important Jewish community during the Middle Ages, and there are two surviving synagogues in the old Jewish quarter, El Transito and Santa Maria la Blanca. El Transito, built by Samuel Levi in the 14th century, now contains a small museum, while Santa Maria, which dates back to the 12th century, was converted into a church after the Jews were expelled from Toledo in 1492.

The nearest airport to Toledo is Madrid (Barajas). There are regular trains from Madrid's Atocha station to Toledo, although buses are usually quicker and more convenient. The city's tourist information office is situated at Puerta de Bisagra and is open daily.

Written by: Gary Marshall

About the author:For more advice and tourist information about Almunecar please see Almunecar

Right arrow icon Send to friends   Right arrow icon Printer friendly version    Right arrow icon Submit your own article


Only registered users can comment on this article. Please Sign In or Register now.

Comment Using Facebook:

Related articles in this category

10 Places to Visit In and Around Valencia

A Bloody Past Behind the Beautiful Village of Frigiliana

A Pleasant Trip to Asturias

Alcala la Real - A Traditional Spanish Lifestyle

All The Wonderful Things In Estepona

Antequera - Jewel in the Crown of Spain

Barcelona in July

Benahavis - A Mountain Paradise

Benahavis - The Culinary Centre of the Costa del Sol

Breathtaking Places in Spain - Mojacar

Campillos, A Traditional Andalucian Town

Córdoba to Granada: The route of the Caliphs

Córdoba With Products Of Slaughter To The Stone

Guide To Almeria

Guide To Mahon, The Capital Of Menorca

Highlights of Madrid

How Lazarote's Top Restaurant was Won... In a Card Game!

Jerez de la Frontera - A Weekend Visit

Just Why Is Denia In Alicante So Popular?

La Rioja - A Land of Fertile Valleys, Dramatic Mountains, Colorful Villages and Fine Wines

Los Guajares In Costa Tropical - A Hidden Gem!

Lovely Tenerife

Mojacar in Almeria

Mountain Walking in Southern Catalunya

MUBAG, Art and Classical Music in Alicante

Murcia Spanish Wine Country With an Old Spain Flavor

My Top 10 Places to Visit in Andalucia

Pamplona Tourist Information

So Many Cities To Visit In Costa Dorada

Sotogrande - An Exclusive Residential Enclave

South to Zuheros

Spanish Troglodytes - Cave Houses Of Guadix

The Essential Guide To The Costa Blanca

The Ordesa Y Monte Perdido National Park

The Pueblos Blancos of Andalucia

The Rastro Flea Market In Madrid

Toledo Tourist Information

Top Five Things to See in Barcelona

Travel Guide To San Sebastian

Valencia, A Modern Jewel Of A City In The Mediterranean

Welcome To El Burgo

Why You Should Visit Altea on Your Next Trip to Spain

Zaragoza Tourist Information

Click here for a list of all the articles from our magazine 

Spain insurance services

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse you are agreeing to our use of cookies. More information here. x