Ready for another history lesson everyone? This weekend’s trip was to Toledo, the famous city. It was the first capital of the peninsula that is now Spain (Spain was not united as ‘Spain’ until the reconquista), and was inhabited by the Romans, the Visigoths, the Muslims, the Jewish (though they were never the ruling majority), and the Catholics. Unlike many of the other cities in Spain, Toledo adopted styles from each and mixed them together in their architecture. The countless churches have the same characteristic arches and building materials used by the Muslims, mixed with gothic or renaissance styles. Toledo is not only known as ‘Holy Toledo’ because of the numerous churches, but also because of the giant cathedral that was once the primary cathedral in all of Spain.
There are two walls in the city that were built to protect the city’s weak point. This is the first wall and main entrance into the city.
The Romans built the first wall and the Catholics built the second wall in the city. This gate is called ‘Puerta del Sol’ and though the Catholics built it, it has the appearance of the Muslim style. This is because the Catholics contracted the Muslims to design and build the wall.
The city sits on a hill in the bend of a river; this was strategically done so that it would be hard to invade the city from any direction but the side with the walls. Despite sitting in the crook of the river, the city has had many problems throughout the decades with getting water.
Here you can see a little mixture of the building styles. Take a look at the arches and the building materials. The middle set is of Muslim design and the use of bricks was a cheap building style also brought to Spain by them.
A dramatic picture I took in a playground. It was a little stormy in the morning, but the sun popped out later in the day.
Toledo is not especially known for any food in particular, and is actually rather pricey since it is a tourist hot spot. The one thing they do make rather well is mazapan. It has a doughy consistency like the Ponche from Segovia, but is made with almonds.
This is the famous cathedral, which is absolutely gorgeous. Like all churches and museums, I was not allowed to take pictures inside, however the interior is incredible and breathtaking.
Another dramatic picture I took, it looks a bit like a postcard I think.
The famous painter El Greco lived much of his life in Toledo and completed the majority of his paintings there. The ‘House of El Greco’ is not his actual house (which was on the outskirts of the city) but a recreation. It is normally a museum of his work, but has been closed for some time now for some construction or something of that sort.
A snap shot of the lower part of the city from above.