Today our path lies in Toledo (Spain), the sights of this place are extremely diverse, since the city has a rather rich history – various cultures and dynasties were mixed here, talented creators were born and significant events took place. In short, this is one of the most important cultural centers in Spain, which any self-respecting tourist must visit.
- 1 The 23 Best Things To Do In Toledo, Spain
- 1.1 1. Santa Cruz Museum
- 1.2 2. El Greco House Museum
- 1.3 3. Museum of Visigothic Culture
- 1.4 4. Tavera Hospital
- 1.5 5. Tapestry and Textile Museum
- 1.6 6. Church of San Ildefonso
- 1.7 7. San Servando Castle
- 1.8 8. Toledo Cathedral
- 1.9 9. Monastery of San Juan de Los Reyes
- 1.10 10. Synagogue del Transito Museum
- 1.11 11. Monastery of Santo Domingo el Antiguo
- 1.12 12. Viewpoint Mirador del Valle
- 1.13 13. Church of Sao Tome
- 1.14 14. Alcantara Bridge
- 1.15 15. Church of Santiago del Arrabal
- 1.16 16. Church of El Salvador
- 1.17 17. Cristo de la Luz Mosque
- 1.18 18. Sokodover Square
- 1.19 19. Cerro del Bú hill
- 1.20 20. Synagogue of Santa Maria la Blanca
- 1.21 21. Archaeological Museum Roman Baths
- 1.22 22. Bisagra New Gate
- 1.23 23. Alcazar War Museum
The 23 Best Things To Do In Toledo, Spain
1. Santa Cruz Museum
It is hard to imagine that this building was once a hospital in the 16th century. Now, its splendid decorative portico welcomes all visitors to the fine art and ceramics museum.
Pièce de résistance is a huge gallery on the ground floor, laid out in the shape of a cross. All kinds of paintings and sculptures are accompanied by explanatory plates, looking at which you can learn the history of a particular exhibit.
Address: Museo de Santa Cruz, Calle Miguel de Cervantes, 3, 45001 Toledo, Spain.
2. El Greco House Museum
At the beginning of the 20th century, a wealthy aristocrat bought the house in which he thought the great El Greco lived, after which the house was restored in the spirit of the times. The buyer was mistaken – El Greco never lived in this building, but the museum named after him is still open and popular.
The museum keeps a good collection of works by the master, including The Redeemer, paintings of the apostles and works of his son and followers. Among other things, here you can look at the excavated ruins of the basements of an old palace.
Address: Museo del Greco, Paseo Tránsito, s / n, 45002 Toledo, Spain.
3. Museum of Visigothic Culture
Sometimes this people is called with disdain as “Invisigots” (the first part of the word is conventionally translated as “invaders”) because of the destruction that he wrought on the territory of Europe in the Middle Ages. The Visigoths took their place in a little-known section of Spanish history, lost between the era of Roman rule and the period of Moorish rule.
Little is known about their culture, and there are few places where you can learn more about it than in Toledo, a city that in the 6th and 7th centuries was actually the capital of the Visigoths. In this humble but very fascinating museum, located in the 13th-century church of San Roman, you can learn a lot about the life of the ancient conquering people.
Address: Museo de los Concilios y la Cultura Visigoda, Calle San Román, s / n, 45002 Toledo, Spain.
4. Tavera Hospital
Tavera is a kind of tandem of several attractions, gathered under one roof. A prominent example of Spanish Renaissance architecture, this former hospital building has now become an art gallery celebrating the work of El Greco and other local artists.
The Tavera features an elegant double patio with an openwork colonnade and a striking (albeit unfinished) altarpiece by El Greco.
Address: Hospital de Tavera, Calle Duque de Lerma, 2, 45003 Toledo, Spain.
5. Tapestry and Textile Museum
The Tapestry and Textile Museumwas opened in 2014 in a former 17th-century College for Singers. Here you can see magnificent 15th-century tapestries, most of which are devoted to religious themes. The largest exhibit is almost 10 meters long.
Every year, on the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, tapestries are taken outside the walls of the museum (even despite the obvious detrimental effects of environmental influences). On the ground floor of the museum, there is an interesting exposition dedicated to the former college – here you can hear the students’ choral singing recorded on tape.
Address: Museo de Textiles y Orfebrería, Plaza Colegio Infantes, 11, 45001 Toledo, Spain.
6. Church of San Ildefonso
Not far from the cathedral, in a charming square, is the rather massive Baroque church of St. Ildefonso. Its façade is distinguished by the presence of two towers, and the bright interior is decorated with paintings by El Greco.
Tourists can easily get inside and even climb the tower for stunning views of the city.
Address: Jesuit Church, Plaza Padre Juan de Mariana, 1, 45002 Toledo, Spain.
7. San Servando Castle
On the left bank of the river, opposite the Alcantara Bridge, is the Castle of San Servando. It was created in the 14th century as a monastery by order of Alfonso VI, but due to its strategic location, it was often used for military purposes.
The castle is a prime example of a fortress built in accordance with the canons of the Mudejar style – its formidable towers, battlements and characteristic Arabian-style gates are sure to make a lasting impression on you. The only drawback is that the castle is closed to the public, so tourists can only enjoy its view from the outside.
Address: Castle of San Servando, Subida Castillo San Servando, 45006 Toledo, Spain.
8. Toledo Cathedral
The main church of Toledo is one of the ten best cathedrals in Spain. It is a classic example of medieval Gothic architecture, so many of the characteristic features of this style can be found in the interior, including rose windows, arched buttresses, ribbed vaults and pointed arches.
The sacristy of the cathedral is a veritable art gallery containing paintings by masters of the old school, including works by Velazquez, Goya and of course El Greco.
Address: Santa Iglesia Catedral Primada, Calle Cardenal Cisneros, 1, 45002 Toledo, Spain.
9. Monastery of San Juan de Los Reyes
The Catholic monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand deliberately erected this huge Franciscan monastery and the 15th-century church in the heart of the Jewish quarter to demonstrate the superiority of their faith. The rulers planned to find rest here, but fate decreed otherwise, and now their remnants rest in Granada.
A distinctive feature of the monastery is its two-level structure, which is a harmonious combination of late (“bright”) Gothic at the bottom and the Mudejar style at the top.
Address: San Juan de los Reyes, Calle de los Reyes Católicos, 17, 45002 Toledo, Spain.
10. Synagogue del Transito Museum
This magnificent synagogue was built in 1355 with the special permission of King Pedro I. It now houses the Sephardic Museum. After restoration, the huge prayer complex has revived its former beauty, so now you have the opportunity to enjoy its Moorish decorations and graceful pine ceiling with patterned carvings.
The museum’s exhibits shed light on the history of Jewish culture in Spain and include archaeological finds, a memorial garden, costumes and ceremonial artifacts.
Address: Sinagoga del Tránsito, Calle Samuel Levi, Toledo, Spain.
11. Monastery of Santo Domingo el Antiguo
This incredibly ancient 11th-century monastery carefully guards one of El Greco’s earliest works, The Assumption of Mary (1679), which stands in the center of a massive gilded altar.
The painter painted this picture even before he became famous, so it is slightly different in style from the typical works of the artist. Through a small window with an iron lattice, you can see the lead coffin with the body of El Greco himself.
Address: Convento de Santo Domingo El Antiguo, Pl. Sto Domingo Antiguo, 2, 45002 Toledo, Spain.
12. Viewpoint Mirador del Valle
If you have not decided what to see in Toledo, head to the Mirador del Valle observation deck, from where you will get an excellent overview of the city and can decide what to visit first.
To do this, you need to cross the Rio Tahoe and climb the road up the hill. The view here is exactly the same as on the famous landscape of El Greco “View of Toledo” (1596-1600).
Address: Mirador del Valle, Ctra. Circunvalación, s / n, 45004 Toledo, Spain.
13. Church of Sao Tome
The Church of Sao Tome houses El Greco’s most famous masterpiece, The Burial of the Count of Orgaz, which is accessed by a separate entrance from the Plaza del Conde. It is believed that at the time of the count’s funeral in 1322, Saints Augustine and Stephen allegedly descended from heaven to earth to the tomb.
El Greco’s work depicts this event, while on it you can see the master himself, his son, as well as Cervantes.
Address: Iglesia de Santo Tomé, Plaza del Conde, 4, 45002 Toledo, Spain.
14. Alcantara Bridge
Not far from Santa Cruz Hospital, you can find the Alcantara Bridge crossing the deep Tagus Gorge. The bridge was built by the ancient Romans, and in 866 the Moors completely rebuilt the crossing. The current bridge was supposedly built in the XIII-XIV centuries.
The Puerta de Alcantara tower appeared at the western end of the bridge in 1484, and the Baroque gate at the western end was added much later, in 1721. From the bridge you can admire a magnificent view of the city, rising from the river along the steep slopes.
Address: Puente de Alcántara, 45006 Toledo, Spain.
15. Church of Santiago del Arrabal
This 13th-century church can be found in one of the outskirts of Toledo near the city walls. Santiago del Arrabal is one of the most stunning examples of Toledo’s Mudejar architecture.
Its splendid brick and stone façade is adorned with graceful Arab portals and oriental cladding. The church is closed to tourists, but no one bothers to enjoy its appearance from the street.
Address: Iglesia de Santiago del Arrabal, Plaza Santiag Arrabal, 4, 45003 Toledo, Spain.
16. Church of El Salvador
This not very popular, but extremely curious church has a lot to say about the complex history of Toledo. Until 1159 it was a mosque, and before the mosque, there was a Visigoth shrine on this site.
One of the most striking artifacts of El Salvador is an old Visigothic pilaster depicting people, which later builders used as a support for the roof.
Address: Iglesia del Salvador, Plaza el Salvador, S / N, 45002 Toledo, Spain.
17. Cristo de la Luz Mosque
On the northern slopes of the city, you can find a modest but very beautiful mosque (one of the 10 preserved in Toledo), in the design of which you can see the architectural traces of the medieval Muslim conquests.
Cristo de la Luz was built around the 11th century AD, and over time it suffered a typical fate for mosques – it was turned into a church, but the original vaults and arches still managed to survive in their original form.
Address: Mezquita del Cristo de la Luz, Calle Cristo de la Luz, 22, 45002 Toledo, Spain.
18. Sokodover Square
This lively square has long been the center of the city. From 1465 to the 1960s, on Tuesdays, a market functioned here, which was the successor to the Arab “suk ad-dawab” (“cattle market”), hence its name.
In this square, the people of Toledo have enjoyed bullfights for centuries and witnessed public burnings at the stake during the Inquisition. Unfortunately, in recent years, even this place has fallen under the onslaught of the giants of the fast-food industry, and now there is only one local cafe operating here.
Address: Plaza Zocodover, 45001 Toledo, Spain.
19. Cerro del Bú hill
Situated on the less populated banks of the Tagus River, this small but rather steep hill might surprise you with the ruins of a 10th-century Moorish fort.
A path descends from the main road that leads to a board with a map of the area and explanatory notes. It is best to combine a visit to this hill with a hike to the nearby Mirador del Valle observation deck.
Address: Cerro del Bu, 45006 Toledo, Spain.
20. Synagogue of Santa Maria la Blanca
The smaller of Toledo’s two Mudejar-style synagogues has five naves separated by rows of horseshoe arches. Originally, the upper row of arches separated the prayer rooms for women, which were above, while the men prayed below.
The column caps are adorned with graceful pine cones, a traditional Middle Eastern element associated with the unity of the people of Israel.
Address: Sinagoga de Santa María La Blanca, Calle de los Reyes Católicos, 4, 45002 Toledo, Spain.
21. Archaeological Museum Roman Baths
The underground ruins of the Roman Baths of Toledo can be seen from a passage that runs past two rooms. You can also look at the remains of the ancient Moorish water supply system of the 8th century, next to which a large villa once stood.
Address: Termas Romanas, Plaza Amador de los Ríos, 3, 45001 Toledo, Spain.
22. Bisagra New Gate
A significant part of the old city walls are pretty well preserved to this day, so the first thing that many tourists see when entering old Toledo is the impressive towers of the northern gate of the city, decorated with the coat of arms of Carlos I.
Address: Puerta Nueva de Bisagra, Calle Real del Arrabal, 26, 45003 Toledo, Spain.
23. Alcazar War Museum
At the highest point of the city, the mighty Alcazar flaunts. The castle was rebuilt under Franco, after which it turned into a huge military museum.
A variety of uniforms and medals are presented here, but the most interesting is the historical section with a large-scale description of the country’s history in Spanish and English. The galleries are truly huge, so you will need a lot of mental and physical strength to master all the information at once.
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