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toledo spain
 
Toledo: a cultural melting pot

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www: Toledo city web
www: Castilla La Mancha tourism
www: Museum of Santa Cruz
www: Casa-Museo de El Greco
www: Art Contemporary Museum

www: Hotels in Toledo

Without any doubt a visit to Toledo is one of the most highly recommended excursions to make from Madrid. A fortified hilltop city surrounded by the Tajo river, Toledo was Spain's capital city during the rule of the Visigoths, and also served as the royal residence of the unified state up to 1560.

ToledoSimply strolling along its narrow streets is one of the best ways to appreciate Toledo. By doing so one can capture its mood, as the city's architecture reflects the many influences and cultures present throughout its long history. Toledo once provided a rare example of Christians, Muslims and Jews living side by side, but once the moors had been ousted it became a center of Catholic Spain's intolerance. The large Jewish population was first forced to convert to Catholicism and later expelled outright.

 

 

'Burial of the Count of Orgaz'; El GrecoAmong the numerous sites worth visiting is the Cathedral, with its exquisite choir stalls and musems with paintings by El Greco, Caravaggio and Bellini among others. Nor should one miss the Iglesia de Santo Tomé, with El Greco’s famous and beautiful Burial of the Count of Orgaz. Also of interest are the Casa y Museo de El Greco (El Greco's house and museum), the Museo de Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz museum) and the the only two remaining synagogues in the old Jewish quarter, the Sinagoga del Tránsito (Synagogue of the Transit) and the Sinagoga de Santa María la Blanca (Synagogue of Mary the White).

Cercanías trains travel approximately every two hours to Toledo from Atocha railway station. Hourly buses leave from Estación Sur de autobuses. Either way the trip takes from 1.5-2 hours. By car Toledo is reached by taking the A400 highway south from the city.

photos: (1) view of Toledo, (2) Burial of the Count of Orgaz, by El Greco.