Famous for its 1,000-year-old Alcázar fort and for its huge collection of fine arts, Toledo, a small city that was once the Spanish capital, lies 70 kilometers southwest of Madrid, the capital of Spain. Do not forget to include this city in your itinerary if you are interested in ancient architecture or if you have a penchant for the fine arts. Little wonder that, this city, bestowed with the title of a national monument, is one of the most frequented amongst other European cities. Easily accessible by car, bus and train, the official language of this Toledo is Castilian Spanish.
The twisted streets and architecture are the first things that will catch the attention of visitors to Toledo. Apart from them, there are innumerous others attractions:
The Alcazar: Founded in 1085, this fort that has been demolished and restored a couple of times and is now a military museum, was previously the royal residence of Carlos I. In the past, this fort served as a prison as well as an army school. There are no entry charges applicable.
El Greco House and Museum: Built by Samuel Levi, this is another important tourist destination. It served as the home of El Greco, the Greek religious painter, during the 18th century. In here, visitors can find some of El Greco’s works of art, including “Portrait of St. Peter” and “A view and map of Toledo.” Admission charges are applicable with discounts for students.
Tavera Hospital: Various art collections are up for view in this building including the “Baptism of Christ” by El Green, “Portrait of Emperor Carlos V,” by Titian. Of special mention is the unique portrait of a bearded woman by Ribera. This building was built in 1541 for Juan Pardo de Tavera. Admission charges are applicable.
The Santo Domingo El Antiquo Monastry: Visitors can view works of art by El Greco along with some religious items over here. Admission charges are applicable.
The Procession of Corpus Christi: Celebrated for the last eight centuries’ this popular festival place on a Sunday, 9 weeks after the Holy week. Visitors have the rare opportunity to view the Enrique de Arce’s spectacular gold monstrance when it is carried out from the cathedral. This festival also provides visitors a glimpse of historical dresses worn by the participants.
Apart from the above, there are various other festivals like “de la Virgen del Valle,” the “Danzantes y Pecados,” the “Rosa del Azafran,” the “Fiesta de la Amistad,”and the “Olive Festival.” Tourists should participate in those festivals that also include processions replete with popular dances.
With more than 100 monuments, the historic center of this city is regarded as one of the biggest in Spain. In December 1987, UNESCO declared Toledo as a world heritage city.
Hotels: Accommodation is no problem in Toledo with a wide range of hotels, from 2 stars to 5 stars, that suit every budget. Worthy recommendations, include Hilton Buenavista Toledo, AC Ciudad de Toledo, Parador de Toledo, Casona de la Reyna; and Hotel Santa Isabel.