Friday, October 23, 2015

Toledo, Spain

As I mentioned in my previous post, I decided to take a day trip to Toledo while I was in Spain. Toledo is known as the Imperial City because it had been the main venue of the Court of Charles I. It is also known as the City of Three Cultures because it was influenced by the historical co-existence of Christians, Muslims, and Jews. Unprecidented at the time, the city of Toledo allowed for mosques and temples to be built within the city and worshiped in. The phrase Holy Toledo comes from the city being considered a holy city for its religious tolerance.

Toledo also has a history of producing bladed weapons and metalwork which are now popular souvenirs of the city. In fact, many of the props from the Lord of the Rings series were made in Toledo.

The bridge leading into Toledo

Ruins that are being excavated outside the city.

I decided to take the train to Toledo. Having never used the European train system and not familiar with Spanish, I was a little nervous taking the train. It turns out I had nothing to worry about. The train system is extremely organized and efficient. Plus, it was fun to see the landscape from the train.

The Train Station at Toledo

I hired a private guide while I was in Toledo. I would definitely recommend hiring a guide. Toledo is a tourist town so the guides specialize in knowing all the interesting facts of Toledo. 

One of the alleys

Those indentations are from knives being sharpened on the walls. 

One of the first stops was the Toledo Army Museum. Situated in the old Alcazar fortress, it is a multi-floored museum showcasing weaponry and armory from different centuries in Spain's history.

One of the many interesting weapons.

A suit of armor for both horse and man

They are also excavating ruins within the museum.

Like many of the museums in Spain, this one takes about several hours to view everything. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to explore it entirely. It is amazing to see the different armory and weaponry.

My next stop was the Toledo Cathedral. Also known as the Primate Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo, it is considered by some authorities to be the magnum opus of Gothic Style in Spain.  It took over 200 years to build.

So gorgeous

Each one of these hats hangs over the buried tomb of a Cardinal.

This is part of the ceiling.

The crown jewels

For an additional fee, you can go up to the top of one of the bell towers. Though the climb is steep and claustrophobic, it is definitely worth it.

A place where I rested as I made my ascent.

This bell is huge. It can fit five or six people underneath it.

View from the top of the bell tower.

The masterpiece, The Burial of the Count of Orgaz by El Greco, is located in the Iglesia de Santo Tome. Although pictures are not allowed, seeing this masterpiece in person is breathtaking.

Here are a few more photos from my tour in Toledo.

The Jewish Quarter. Written in English, Arabic, and Hebrew.

Inside a synagogue

El Greco died in Toledo. 

The Statue of Miguel de Cervantes. He's the writer of Don Quixote.

Lastly, I stopped at a restaurant and had some delicious gazpacho.

Toledo was an amazing trip. I wish I had more than a day to explore it. The blending of cultures and history has created a unique town worth exploring.

~A.E. Keener

Want to know more about my adventure? Follow the links below:

Toledo Army Museum:

Toledo Cathedral:

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