Toledo is a city that completely sums up the history of Spain. A tour through its streets is to walk an open museum of the history of Spain. Toledo was declared in 1986 Unesco World Heritage site. With more than 100 monuments, and classified buildings of great historical value, Toledo offer good reasons for a visit. Toledo is the city of 3 cultures.
Toledo was already declared a National Monument in 1940 (along with Santiago de Compostela). Besides its monuments, its landscapes (the Cigarrales area) offer fantatic value. In the second century BC the Roman conquest of Toletum (name the Romans gave the city) occured. The Romans developed the city. In the Visigoth period, during the reign of King Leovigildo, Toledo was declared City Regia (VI century AD). During the reign of Alfonso X the Wise, in the thirteenth century, the Toledo School of Translators was established: Toledo was the city of the three cultures. The city was a bridge to exchange knowledge between Europe and East. Toledo was then an Imperial City during the reign of Charles I of Spain and V of Germany. We can only start to understand why thousands of tourists decide to enjoy a Toledo Tour every month.
Today Toledo is a dynamic and peaceful city . Toledo is the capital of Castilla La Mancha , one of the autonomous communities of Spain . Toledo is also home of the UCLM university (UCLM University of Castilla la Mancha ) and is connected to Madrid and the rest of Spain with the AVE ( high speed train).
The appearance of the city is due to its Islamic - medieval heritage. During a tour of Toledo winding streets you get back into history: churches, sinagogues, houses with courtyards... Toledo´s location plays an important role in its morphology. Located on a high over the Tagus River, Toledo rises 70 meters above the river: a perfect defensive emplacement. The Tagus river surrounds the city from the south, east and west. On the north the city is covered by a wall of about 2 kilometers. A tour of this area reveals Toledo´s Islamic and medieval heritage too in its bridges and gates.
The surface inside the walls is more than 125 hectares. This surface makes Toledo the largest historical City-center of Spain and one of the largest in Europe. One of the biggest interests of Toledo is that it is a city where many civilizations have been mixed. Romans, Visigoths , Muslims, Jews , Mozarabes and Christians left all their mark on the city. Today we can leave our hotel in Toledo to start our tour of the city and as we walk we will find an Islamic building, followed by another Gothic, one Renaissance church, yet another Moorish building, a Baroque monument...
All this historical legacy and its impressive cultural past explain why Toledo is today a major tourist destination , with more than 2 million visitors each year that tour the City. The proximity to Madrid also help in this regard . In the same way that Barcelona is linked to the figure of Gaudi, Toledo is strongly connected with El Greco. The painter Domenico Theotocopuli , El Greco (1541-1614) , arrive to Toledo in 1577. The " Burial of Count Orgaz " in the Church of Santo Tomé is the most outstanding work of El Greco in Toledo, but there are many others in the museum that bears his name , as well as the Cathedral (Catedral Primada) .
Any visitor should not miss the Gothic cathedral with its chapels , the Treasury , the fantastic Sacristy , the Choir and the main Altar. Another highlight in Toledo is in the Church of Santo Tomé, where you will discover the "Burial of the Lord de Orgaz " , painted by El Greco. Not far from Santo Tomes are the Synagogue of Transito and Santa Maria la Blanca. Bu there is more to see and enjoy in Toledo: La Casa y Museo del Greco offers a good collection of master pieces from the artist. The Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes is probably Toledo´s most beautiful church . More museums can be found: The Museo de Santa Cruz , the Army Museum at the Alcazar, the Tavera Museum and the Museum of the Councils, this last one located in the Church of San Roman. Exceptional works of art can be seen in the Convent of Santo Domingo el Antiguo , and other religious and civil buildings will be found by the visitor at every step while you walk the streets of Toledo
To wander through the quiet streets of Toledo, a visit to an old house with its private yard, or to stand there where poets and painters sang and painted their wonders to the City brings the visitor a taste of the pas in a modern world. A very interesting tour option in Toledo consits of dramatized guided visits (they are offered both during the day and at night). These tours recreate different times of the historical past of Toledo. This is something new and interesting, which adds to the touristic offer of the city. There are also free guided tours offered by students.
Toledo offers visitors two important religious events every year: the first is Easter and the second one the Corpus Christi Procession. The Corpus Christi in Toledo was declared of special international tourist interest. During the Semana Grande of Corpus visitors can enjoy the streets full of flowers and admire the Patios in Toledo. If you would like to enjoy a more relaxed tour to Toledo this may however not be the best time of the year.
The best views of Toledo are probably from the Ermita de la Virgen del Valle, both at day and night. A walk from the bridge of San Martin to the Alcantara bridge is a fantastic experience. From here we can see the works of man integrated into nature and sometimes it is not easy to identify where nature ends and where the hand of man begins. This is the perfect spot to enjoy Toledo a World Heritage Site . Updated by Luis