Toledo Spain is the destination to head for anyone looking to delve into the heart of Spanish culture and history. Big cities like Madrid and Barcelona are famous tourist hot-spots and undoubtedly feature many historical sites and places of interest, but those cities have increasingly adopted a cosmopolitan character.
But ones who are interested in the long multi-cultural and multi-ethnic history of Spain can found it still intact at the town of Toledo. That is also to say that people having even a fleeting interest in old architecture should never give Toledo Spain a miss while they are on a visit to this European nation.
At the same time, this is also the holy city for lovers of art. Toledo prides itself on being the birthplace of the great Spanish painter El Greco, as well as of painters like Al Zarqali, Eleanor, Garcilaso de la Vega and Alfonso X.
The city is located at a distance of 70 kms from Madrid and was once the capital city of Spanish Empire. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986.
Architectural monuments abound in Toledo. Some of the best of them are:
Mosque of Cristo de la Luz:
Toledo was once the main city of the Moors-controlled Spain. As such, Moor rulers had built many mosques here. Unfortunately only one of these mosques, Mosque of Cristo de la Luz, has been preserved for the posterity. Carved in the year 996, this mosque is a splendid example of Moorish architecture and a must-see in Toledo.
Castillo de San Servando
This medieval castle by Tagus River was originally conceived as a monastery in 1088. But before it could be completed, the city was taken by Alfonso VI of Castile’s Christian army and rebuilt as a fortress. Set on the outer parts of Toledo on the sprawling Tagus River valley, this site, named a Spanish national monument in 1974, is one of the prime attractions of Toledo.
The Gothic Cathedral
This famous cathedral, carved in old gothic architectural style, is also known by the name of Primate Cathedral of Saint Mary or Cathedral of Saint Mary. Built from Olihuelas stones, the cathedral is a wonderful example of old gothic architecture.
Although no concrete proof is there, historians believe that, just like Castillo de San Servando, this cathedral was originally a monastery and was only later converted to a cathedral after Christian invasion.