Toledo, located approx. 70km south of Madrid is a town with a long history.
It flourished during Roman times, followed by the Visigoths, the Caliphate of Cordoba and the conquest by Alfonso VI of Castile in 1065.
Each and every culture left its marks and well preserved buildings but the majority date from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
The cathedral, built between 1226 and 1493 is a mixture of many styles.
Most prominently the seven story high baroque altar.
The Alcazar opposite was the seat of the royal court until it was moved frist to Valladolid and later to Madrid.
Tolerance and peaceful coexistence between Christians, Muslims and Jews was a prominent feature of the culture here until the Jews were expelled from Spain. During the ´good times´ Toledo was also a center for learning and translations.
Toledo Old Town
Dive into history by walking the steep cobblestone streets of the Old Town.
In fact, many are so narrow that a car can hardly pass and, as my taxi driver laughingly explained, nobody has a side mirror anymore and nobody bothers to repair dents and scratches.
At every twist and turn you come across archways, churches, monasteries and medieval town houses.
Many of them have been converted into boutique hotels with a unique charm but all modern amenities as well as cafes, restaurants and shops.
Since 500 BC Toledo was famous for the production of the finest swords and weapons, a craft which extends to the present day, although today the products are less lethal.
You’ll come across several work shops and can observe the artists crafting the distinctive black and gold objects, plates, jewelry and decorative knifes which are sought after souvenirs.
Just 60 kilometers from Toledo, in Consuegra, is a special festival last week of October every year.
It’s the Rose of Saffron Festival, and can be worth a visit if you come here in late October.
Crete born painter, sculptor and architect Domenikos Theotokopoulos, better known as El Greco moved to Toledo in 1577 where he lived and worked until his death on 7th April 1614.
Works of art from all over the world have come to Toledo on loan and are exhibited in the reconstruction of the master´s house and other museums.
Visit the website of El Greco Foundation – More than 350 images of paintings, slideshow, biography and more!