Nazare Region
The Douro

A half hour's train ride south of Madrid lies Toledo, Spain's former capital city with 2500 years of Roman, Visigoth, Jewish, Moorish and Christian history. Perched on a circular hill, the city is dominated by the Alcazar fortress and the Cathedral.

Expansive views can be seen from several points, such as during the long climb from the train station in the valley to the central Plaza Zocodover.

Below the cathedral's bell tower lies the Plaza Ayuntamiento, with the city hall, the tourist office and a modern art installation portraying a metallic sewage ditch.

The Puerta de Bisagra Negra, built in 1559, was Toledo's main entrance through the city walls.


Outside the Alcazar is a statue of a woman offering a sword to heaven, commemorating the victims of the siege of the Alcazar by Republican troops during the Spanish Civil War.

Spain's first great artist, El Greco, was a Greek living in Toledo. 2014 was the 400th anniversary of El Greco's death. The Museo El Greco and the Santa Cruz Museum featured interpretive displays about his influence on later artists.

The 13th Century Toledo Cathedral is vast and impressive, with 5 naves, 4 organs, a gilded altarpiece and carved walnut choir chamber. Like many cathedrals in Spain it has been built atop a prior mosque.

The Cathedral's sacristry features 18 El Grecos and artwork by Goya, Titian, Rubens and Caravaggio.

Small chapels around the cloister are richly decorated.

Toledo is said to have Spain's most confusing medieval street plan. We got pleasantly lost in our wandering through narrow streets and blind alleys past homes with iron grillwork.

Tiny twisted lanes lead to the Jewish Quarter where small sinagogas portray the complicated history of Jewish and Moorish settlement in Spain.

Toledo is known for its style of pottery, for its hand-crafted swords and for its damascene inlay work.

Artisans produce goods related to the nearby La Mancha setting of Cervantes' Don Quixote.

Hidden artistic details are everywhere, such as this bust of El Greco in a quiet garden.


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This site was last updated 03/14/15