Toledo and The Land of Don Quijote
Toledo is a glorious treasure of a city, with one of the world’s most beautifully preserved medieval quarters on the spot that used to be Europe’s most cultured and sophisticated city, where Christians, Jews and Moors were contributing equally to its wealth and fame.
This post is one in a series about Espana provided by Lesbianas Viajeras, a Spain based company specialising in travel in Spain and beyond especially for lesbians.
The city of Toledo has its origins in Toletum
The name the Romans gave to this settlement on the banks of the River Tagus after its conquest in 190 BC. The city maintained its importance for centuries and, in the Visigothic era, became the capital of Hispania (6th C.). The arrival of the Arabs in the 8th century, together with the presence of Christians and Jews, made Toledo the “city of the three cultures”. This was one of the Toledo’s most splendid periods when, among other important events, the Toledo School of Translators was founded. Later, when Carlos V came to the throne in 1519, the city became an imperial capital.
Corpus Christi Celebrated
Synagogues, mosques and churches jostle in the narrow streets of Toledo, which is characterised by the mixture of artistic styles. The most important date in Toledo’s calendar is Corpus Christi, which is celebrated nine weeks after Easter. This festival, which has centuries of tradition and has been declared of International Tourist Interest, has its culminating moment in a large and colourful procession going round the historic centre of the capital of La Mancha.
One of the most outstanding buildings in the city is the Cathedral, considered one of the high points of Gothic art. The construction of this monumental building, with a basilica floor plan and five naves, because in 1226, although it was not finished until the 15th century. This is reflected in the great superimposition of styles in the building and the large number of renowned artists who left their mark on the church: from Pedro Berruguete, to Enrique Egás, Petrus Petri and Juan Guas. On its main facade the outstanding feature is the doorway, made up of three doors: Infierno (Hell), Perdón (Forgiveness) and Juicio (Judgement). The exterior is topped by the two cathedral towers, one of them in flamboyant Gothic style and the other in Gothic-Renaissance.
If there is one person’s name that defines Toledo it is that of El Greco (16th-17th C)
His House-Museum, a palace with the atmosphere of the period, exhibits some of the best works of the painter who made the city world famous.