Top 8 things to do in Toledo, Spain
Welcome to the home of the best swords in the world, since the 16th century, or so, it is said! Truly, the swords from Toledo as some of the best in the industry! Toledo was once the capital of Spain. A very beautiful, peaceful; city. A city of three cultures- Jewish, Cristian, and Muslim cultures. They all have a very huge influence in the city full of mosques, churches, and temples. It usually is not surprising to find them built next to each other. The Moors from North Africa, the Romans, and nomadic tribes have their influences on a lot of things in Toledo. This city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which means there is a lot to see and experience in this city, and here are some of the ones you definitely should check out!
1. Catedral Primada
The construction of this cathedral took 250 years to complete; having started in 1226. A whole quarter of a millennium to complete! The cathedral is beautiful, and stands on a site where a 6th-century mosque once stood! Inside it, you will find a lot of little buildings and areas which make up the cathedral. One of the things I find fascinating about the churches in Europe is the architecture and the intricate details that have gone into the construction. This cathedral, one of the most prominent in Spain incorporates a Medieval Gothic architecture which gives it a very unique and beautiful look.
2. El Greco Museum
El Greco was an amazing Greek artist who lived during the golden ages and his work is amazing! He is the inspiration behind the El Greco Museum and some of his best works are displayed here. There are two buildings located within the museum, which was built around 1911. A house built in the 16th century which has a courtyard as well as a 20th-century extension. There are works done by other Spanish painters like Murillo, and Valdes Leal, and many more. Even though he was born in Greece, El Greco spent most of his time in Toledo and painted some of his best works there, like ‘Tears of St. Peter’. There are other items on display like furniture, archeological pieces, decorative items, as well as textiles! You can access the museum using a car, or train, or even walk since it is not very far from the city center!
3. Iglesia de San Ildefonso
In 1629, the construction of the Iglesias de San Ildefonso began. The Jesuits had been living in the area since 1558 and soon after, acquired the land, where the church was built and completed a century after the construction commenced. It has one of the highest points in the city- a dome that stands out- you cannot miss it. The design is something else, it has pure white interiors and other side chapels that darken and the design also lets in a lot of light! This is a must-visit!
4. Iglesia de Santo Tomé
This church has very intricate designs, a mixture of Moorish and gothic designs, with some details that’s date back to the 14th Century. ‘Burial of the Count of Orgaz’ is the painting that many people travel far and wide to go there to see, and which you should too! The painting was done by El Greco around 1580 and gives the church a very unique feel.
5. Puerta de Bisagra
You need to make a dramatic and auspicious entry to the city. In the city, were two main gates. This particular one still stands today though it was replaced by a bigger one not far from there. The gates were constructed by the Moors sometime around the 900s and were the main entrance into the city, and are very intricate details, like the arch which has two defensive towers arches that are circular. It also has a coat of arms- one used by King Charles V in the 16th Century, as well as a courtyard and some very high towers as well. If you need to feel like a 16th Century traveler, or one from the 900s, what better way to enter the city then? Visit the Puerta de Bisagra!
6. Puente de Alcántara
While in Toledo, you must visit this bridge, which spans over the Tagus River. It was built during the Roman era in Spain and even though it has been modified over time, because of the wear and tear occasioned by different factors. The word Alcántara is derived from an Arabic word which means ‘arch. Visiting the bridge, you will get to see the different modifications and additions since the one done in the 10th century. The bridge during the Middle Ages was the only entrance into the city and now has two arches, though it seems to have had more than that.
7. Plaza de Zocodover
This space has always been the city square, where the town people often met, and it still serves the same purpose today. The name loosely translates to a donkey or a livestock market. Even during the Moorish times, the square served that purpose, and today, even more concerts and other public functions happen there, and besides that, there are shops and cafes where one can get some food as well as buy souvenirs among other things. As one of the biggest squares, it attracts a lot of events as well as a lot of tourists every year. Do not fail to visit!
8. Mosque of Christ of the Light
If you love history, this is the place for you. The town of Toledo has huge Roman and Moorish influences, as the city was founded and built during those times. The Moorish culture is still felt through some of the traditions and buildings or structures and bits of the cultures here and there. The Mosque of Chris of the Light is one of the structures which is very reflective of the Moorish influences in Toledo. It is one of the oldest buildings, originally a mosque which was built in 999 and has not changed much since then. Some 200 years later, it became a church then converted later into a hermitage. Some intricate details incorporated in the construction can tell stories and history about the construction of the building, for example, it has inscriptions within the walls as well as vaulting which resembles some other buildings built around the same time.