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Toledo, though part of one of Spain’s smallest provinces, its historical value is such that it has influenced the whole country’s national history and identity. Traditionally an important Spanish religious centre, Toledo was the medieval hub of a colourful, multicultural society that gave birth to a city so beautiful and charming that has gained an international fame, with hundreds of travellers search for cheap air tickets to Toledo! Toledo’s Old Town is a chest full of treasures; churches, museums and synagogues, castles, cobblestone streets, alleys and the remnants of the artistic and cultural heritage of the Arabs, Jewish, Christians, Romans and Visigoths that once lived in Toledo. Plan early enough and your chances to find cheap hotels in Toledo are good!
Holding a strategic location on a hill’s top and encircled by River Tagus, Toledo is a fascinating historic city, officially designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Toledo was founded by the Romans, back in 193 B.C. Succeeding the Romans, the Visigoths came in the 5th century A.D. and made it their first and most important city, in terms of political and religious power. Over the years, Toledo became a Muslim Emirate and an independent kingdom, until it was finally annexed in Spain.
In 1085, Toledo was declared Spain’s capital and it remained as such until 1561, when King Felipe II moved the capital to Madrid, leaving the Archdiocese back in Toledo.
It is really important to understand Toledo’s history, in order to be able to appreciate the city’s sights and attributes; architecture, culture, religion and arts, they’re all different sides of the same coin, parts of the melting pot that Toledo was and still is!
Definitely a destination worth checking out!
Madrid’s airport (Aeropuerto de Madrid-Barajas) is the nearest airport to Toledo, 15 kilometres away from the city centre. The airport is accessible by the railway network (AVE) and airport buses.
Getting around Toledo
You can easily get around Toledo on foot, as it is a quite walkable city, but you can always use the city’s well organised bus network.
Toledo’s main attraction, the Alcázar, is where you’ll start your day in this beautiful city of Spain. The castle stands at the top of the hill, looming over the city and dominating the skyline.
Dating back to the 3rd century, when it served as a Roman Fort, it was later renovated by King Felipe II, in 1540. A key-place during the Spanish Civil War, the castle now houses the Spanish Army Museum.
Toledo’s next major landmark couldn’t be other than the Cathedral, ranking top among Spain’s Gothic churches. It took 2.5 centuries for the cathedral’s construction to be completed. As a result, the church reflects many different architectural styles and elements, from Gothic and Renaissance, to the traditional Mudéjar style of the Iberian Muslim population.
Toledo’s southwest side forms the Old Jewish Quarter (Antiguo Barrio Judío), an area that once housed 10 synagogues and was considered as a very important part of the walled city. Two are the Jewish Quarter’s best attractions:
- The Museo del Greco: It was once widely considered to be El Greco’s home, though it never was; Nonetheless, this is a very interesting museum honouring the great Greek artist, his life and his work.
- The Sinagoga del Tránsito: This is Toledo’s most significant and sacred religious centre of the Jewish community. The building dates back to 1355 and now houses the Museo Sefardí, a museum that focuses on Spain’s Jewish history, heritage and culture.
You cannot leave Toledo without paying a visit to the Museo de Santa Cruz!
Housed in an elegant 16th century building, this museum boasts excellent collections of masterpieces – paintings and sculptures – by El Greco, Goya, Ribera and many more internationally famous artists!
Toledo’s official language is Spanish.