The famous city of Toledo is located only 71 km from Madrid. If you’re visiting Madrid and want to escape busy city life I highly recommend taking a train from Atocha train station to this small, calm and charming city. I recommend booking your train tickets in advance, especially if you’re going on the weekends.
THE CITY OF THREE CULTURES
Situated on the top of the hill with the spectacular view over the river Tajo, the city of Toledo has an impressive history and culture. The city is called The City of Three Cultures, because Christians, Muslims and Jews coexisted there for centuries and its geographical location meant it was of great importance in Roman times. After the victory of Christianity in the 15th century, Spain remained a mostly Catholic country. Today, Catholic churches prevail in Toledo, the oldest one being Santa Justa and Rufina.
The Mosque of Cristo de La Luz is the only preserved piece of Moorish architecture in Toledo. It’s a real architecture gem which dates from 999 and is for the most part in the same condition as it was when originally built.
Only two synagogues still exist in the Jewish Quarter in Toledo, where most of the Jewish population live. The most impressive building in Toledo is the Cathedral. It’s one of the biggest cathedrals in the Christian world. Construction began in 1226 and lasted for three centuries, which explains the influence of different architecture styles, such as combination of French gothic style with Spanish mudejár. Mudejár style is very typical of Spain because its harmonization of Arabic and European artistic elements.
Alcázar is an Arab word which means castle or palace. In the fascinating Alcázar of Toledo is an Army Museum – Museo del Ejército, which was relocated from Madrid in 2009. The library of Alcázar consists of a Borbón – Lorenzana collection with over 100, 000 books from the 16th – 19th century and over 1000 manuscripts.
GASTRONOMIC CAPITAL 2016
The Federation of Tourism Journalists and Writers made Toledo the Spanish Capital of Gastronomy 2016. This is a perfect reason to visit Toledo this year – there will be rich gastronomic offerings and events which no food lover could resist. For the past few years several cities in Spain have had the honour to be capital of gastronomy. The main aim of this initiative is to promote gastronomy as an important cultural asset of Spain.
The famous Greek painter El Greco came to the town of Toledo in 1577, to paint the altarpiece in the monastery of Santo Domingo el Antiguo. Enchanted by the charming little town, he settled down in Toledo and continued to paint religious portraits and altarpieces.
In Samuel Levi Street you can visit the House – Museum of El Greco. It’s not completely sure if he had lived in this house but it’s definitely worth taking a look at his valuable art collection. Wherever you go in Toledo you’ll find a bar, bakery or souvenir shop with the image of the famous painter.