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Toledo Mini Guide
Situated slap bang in the centre of Spain near to the capital Madrid
, Toledo is one of the most beautiful cities in the country and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built near to the Tagus River and is called the city of three cultures because Christians, Jews and Muslims all lived there in a period known as La Convivencia. Toledo was the capital of Visigothic Spain until the Moors conquered it in the 8th century.
During their rule famed Muslim scientists created water locks throughout the city, basins whose flow of water mirrored the stages of the moon.
The city has had a distinguished history. It was the largest European capital for the study of languages and sciences and until 1563 Toledo was the capital of the Spanish crown. Today it remains the capital of Castille la Mancha.
The well known sculptor, painter and artist of the Spanish renaissance El Greco also contributed to the rich cultural heritage of Toledo. Toledo was famous for making weapons as ironmongery was a skill practised there, and its Alcazar stone fortress became known as a military academy in the 1800s. The Alcazar is a must-see for tourists who come to Toledo as the ancient Roman building became a focal point in the Spanish Civil War and the museum within the Alcazar is a good place to find out more. Please note that photography is not permitted inside the museum.
One of Toledo's most memorable sights is the 9th century Puerta de Bisagra, or gate to the city, which is very picturesque.
Toledo also has ten main museums which display the marks left on it by history as well as a wealth of ancient monuments for the visitor to see including churches, mosques and synagogues. But make sure you get a map as it is an easy city in which to get lost.
Toledo is one of the best places to see the Spanish sunset as there are many beautiful views which can be seen from a number of different vantage points including the cathedral tower in the heart of the city. It takes half an hour to reach Toledo via the high speed train from Madrid and buses and taxis can be taken from Toledo Train Station into the main town. Alternatively you can fly into Madrid Airport
and rent a car easily to take you on the 70 kilometre drive south on the A42 freeway.
- From the 27th June to the 3rd of July, the festival of Corpus Christi takes place in the city. Toledo really goes to town over it with seating set up in the main square for people to watch in comfort and a solemn procession to the cathedral led by the primate of Spain. The procession is accompanied by the smell of fresh herbs and burning incense and at the head come giants who represent the world's continents.