The Spanish city of Toledo is located about seventy kilometers from Madrid. This city, which was built on a hill, is characterized by its location on the Tagus River and the many sights in the center. Indeed, Toledo has a particularly rich history that still influences the monarchy as we can experience it today in Spain. It was once even the capital of the Kingdom of Castile. It is therefore known as ‘Imperial City’. In addition, it is also very special that three religions and associated cultures have taken place in Toledo. Christians, Jews and Muslims have their memories here. Today Toledo is a modern university city, which has a warm heart for history. Many historic buildings and other heritage sites are carefully maintained, restored or restored. And there is also plenty to discover in terms of museums. The El Greco Museum, Toledo Museum of Art and the Alcázar are a small selection from the range.
Top 10 sights of Toledo
#1. Cathedral of Toledo
According to PETSINCLUDE, the cathedral of Toledo, built in Gothic style, is particularly beautiful. The main entrance of ‘Catedral de Santa Maria de Toledo’ is located on the Plaza Ayuntamiento, where the Town Hall and the Archbishop’s Palace are also located. The construction of the Cathedral of Toledo began in the first half of the thirteenth century and was then declared complete at the beginning of the sixteenth century. As a result, several architectural styles can be discovered in this extensive religious complex. The facade has three entrances, namely ‘Puerta del Perdón’, ‘Puerta del Rey’ and ‘Puerta del Infierno’. The inside of Toledo Cathedral is just as impressive as the outside. The amount of artwork decorations and vaults are extraordinary. There are also statues here by the Dutch sculptor Diego Copín de Holanda. The altarpiece is a special work of art by several well-known artists, including Juan de Bourgogne, Felipe Vigarny, Diego Copín de Holanda and Sebastián de Almonacid. There are also a number of museums to visit in the cathedral of Toledo, including a tapestry museum, the San Blas Chapel and the Infantes Colegio Museum.
#2. Sinagoga de Santa Maria Blanca
The Sinagoga de Santa María Blanca can rightly call itself one of the most beautiful monuments within the Jewish quarter of Toledo. This historic building clearly shows the history of the country and the city of Toledo. In particular, the combination of Jewish, Islamic and Christian culture is beautifully depicted. It is believed that the building dates from the twelfth century. A century later it would have been destroyed by fire and rebuilt. During the Renaissance, a clear reform took place. It was not until 1930 that the synagogue was declared a national monument. This means that the architectural features that belong to this special building remain intact. Enthusiasts can admire various decorative arts that come from different cultures. The most beautiful, however, is the space with the many pillars.
The stately Alcázar fortress is a relic of previous centuries. As far back as the third century, history speaks of a Roman fort on this location. That fortress, which was of course very conveniently located, was converted into a palace and in the eighth century it was conquered by the Arabs who turned it into an Arab fortress. They called it ‘Al Qasar’. After the conquest of Toledo, a military stronghold was created by the Spanish rulers and it was not until the sixteenth century that the Alcázar was designated as a royal residence. The greatest adjustment took place in the nineteenth century. The Alcázar was hit by a fire and large parts went up in flames. Today, the Alcázar of Toledo is a cultural institution. You can visit the National Army Museum, the Romero Ortiz Hall and also rooms with weapons, uniforms, documents and graves of people who defended the Alcázar with their lives during the siege in 1936 known as the Civil War.
#4. Greco Museum
The history of the Greco Museum is closely linked to Don Benigno de la Vega-Inclán y Flaquer, the motor behind the tourist industry in Toledo and, as it turns out, an all-rounder. In addition, this influential personality was also a fan of the artist El Greco. The originally Greek artist El Greco was primarily a painter of religious images. His painting style is now also known as Mannerism. One of his most famous works is the ‘Baptism of Christ’. In the Del Greco museum, the influence of his work and el Greco as a personality is particularly central. In addition to paintings, the museum also has ceramics, furniture, photography, sculpture and metals on the program.
#5. Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes
The beautiful monumental monastery ‘San Juan de los Reyes’ is a legacy from the fifteenth century. In that period, Catholic monarchs were allowed to build a monastery to celebrate the victory at the Battle of Toro in 1476. The battle was fought between the Catholic Monarchs and Alfonso V of Portugal and Prince John who disagreed with the coronation of Isabel de Farnesio. With the Battle of Toro, the throne was secured for Queen Isabel. The design of the monastery was in the hands of Juan Guas around 1477. Unfortunately, part of it was destroyed in a fire as a result of the French invasion around 1808. Architect and sculptor Arturo Mélida was commissioned at the end of the nineteenth century to bring back the original Gothic design. He was assisted in this by the sculptor Cecilio Béjar.
#6. Mirador del Valle
Just outside the center of the city of Toledo you can visit an exceptionally beautiful viewpoint. Mirador del Valle offers you the opportunity to take in the entire city in peace. As a clear landmark, the Alcázar towers high above everything else. But the contours of other structures can also be clearly distinguished from here. Mirador del Valle is located on the Carretera Circunvalación.
#7. Museo Sefardí
The former monastery ‘Convento de Caballeros de Calatrava’ has been set up since 1971 as Museo Sefardí. This museum teaches you the history and culture of the Jewish people as they have been shaped over the centuries. Before it became a monastery, the building was used as a synagogue, which was built around the fourteenth century. At the time it was known as Synagoge del Tránsito or Synagogue de Samuel ha-Leví. Many of the objects focus on a subject from history or Jewish culture. Think of tombstones, jewellery, household objects, documents, architecture and decorations.
#8. Iglesia de Santo Tomé
Originally the church ‘Iglesia de Santo Tomé’ was built as a mosque with a minaret. If you look closely, there are still clear mudejar features visible. After the expulsion of the Moors, the mosque was converted into a Christian church without major intervention. For example, the work of El Greco, with the title ‘the burial of the Count of Orgaz’, was displayed here. The mix of Gothic and Moorish architecture makes this church particularly interesting.
#9. Museo de Santa Cruz
The ‘Santa Cruz Museum’ is now located in a former children’s hospital. This museum offers you the chance to get acquainted with the history of Toledo. Through all kinds of historical and religious objects you make a journey through time. The role of the emperor and other influential persons are also discussed here. There are several rooms dedicated to rulers such as Charles V, Philip III, Philip IV and Carlos II. And you can see several works by Flemish painters, sculptors, watchmakers and ceramics. The courtyard of Museo de Santa Cruz houses a collection of architectural styles.
#10. Puerta de Bisagra
The gateway ‘Puerta de Bisagra’ was built as early as the tenth century to allow people controlled access to the center of Toledo. The gate is now located in the historic part of the city and bears the name ‘Puerta Antigua de Bisagra’. There is also a gate with the name ‘Puerta Nueva de Bisagra’. This is located on the outside and is anchored by two round towers. The two entrance gates are separated by a small courtyard. Other city gates of Toledo are ‘Puerta del Sol, Puerta Alcantara and Puerta Cambrón’.