Most often, when people plan for a trip to Spain, their itinerary features Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid and Andalusia region prominently. But Spain has so many overlooked gems in its basket of historical and cultural prominence. Even if you are on a tight schedule and / or shoe-string budget, you must not miss visiting Toledo, just 70 km south of Madrid. It is generally considered a day-trip but i will strongly recommend spending few days in this erstwhile capital of Spain, owing to the uniqueness and magnanimity of this adoring place.
Above photograph of the picturesque, walled city of Toledo in Spain was shot from the top of the stone fortress and palace of Alcazar – the highest point of the city. It provides a magnificent view (and depth of view, too!) of the medieval city with its famous monuments and historic buildings. In this shot, apart from the Cathedral, Churches of Santo Tome and San Roman (at the far end of the photo), located on the west side of the walled city can also be seen.
At the present day Alcazar, there stood a Roman palace in the third century. The building that you see today was inspired from the Renaissance style of architecture. Irony of Alcazar is that it was never lived by the Spanish kings, because before the completion of its construction, capital of Spain was moved from Toledo to Madrid. Alcazar stands testimony to the historic Spanish Civil War of 1936. The palace, at a walking distance from Plaza de Zocodover, was renovated in 1940 and today it houses Spain’s official military museum, Museo del Ejercito.
Second biggest cathedral of Spain, after the cathedral in Seville is located in Toledo. Built in 13th century, this enormous Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo is the most important church in Spain because of its historic and ecclesiastical importance as it has been the residence of high-ranking Catholic Bishops and clergies over the ages. One of the finest cathedrals of Spain with stunning stained glass windows and frescoes is built on top of a Moorish mosque.
Once inside the Cathedral, you will encounter the Gothic and Renaissance style of artwork. There are huge oil paintings of Toledo Cardinals, painted by the likes of Goya. Walls and ceilings of the cathedral are decorated by the frescoes painted by Juan de Borgoña, Lucas Giordano, Francisco Bayeu and Maella. There is an inspiring art gallery also with some masterpieces. Seeing these paintings and art works, i was transported back in time, wondering about the magical time their creators must have had, sitting idyllic in this gem of a city, sitting majestically on a hill.
However, there is one thing about Spain, which i completely detest, and can never support. Read here to know what is that.
Have you been to Toledo? How was your experience with the history and culture of Spain and Toledo, in particular? Do share with us.