Last week I returned from a family vacation to Spain. One of the places we visited while there was the city of Toledo, Spain’s first capital city; which was an easy 30 minute train ride from Madrid, which was our home base for the vacation. The oldest part of Toledo sits high on a hill, surrounded by a wall and water. Everything you expect from an old fortified town! While we were there the streets were beautifully decorated with canopies, banners, and flowers for the Corpus Christi Festival. Wandering through the ancient streets you really felt lost in time to a far distant place.
If you go to any cathedral in Spain, make sure it is the Cathedral of Toledo. It took over 250 years, from 1226 to 1495, to build the cathedral, which is mostly constructed in the Gothic style, but also has Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical architectural elements. In addition to being a large beautiful cathedral, the building is also home to an impressive art collection including many works by former Toledo resident El Greco.
The Alcazar, formally a fortified palace, now a military museum.
San Juan de los Reyes Monasterio is an impressive Francisan monastery with a beautiful chapel and courtyard.
Other places to visit in Toledo:
- Santo Tome – a chapel that is home to one of El Greco’s most famous works known as “Such is the reward for those who serve God and his saints”, painted to depict the burial of a count in 1586.
- Museo del Greco – a small museum built near the site of El Greco’s house. You can walk through the house, see a small collection of El Greco paintings and works inspired by his style. There is also a public bathroom here, something that is hard to come by in Spain!
- Sinagoga de Santa Maria la Blanca – a synagogue-turned-church that was used as horse stables by Napoleon’s troops. This does not take long to view, but it is a place with an interesting past.
Medieval inspired souvenirs! Toledo is known for making swords and knifes and there are plenty of places where you can purchase medieval-looking swords, armor, maces, pocket knives, and letter openers.