Toledo Cathedral

Toledo, Spain

The Primate Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo is one of the three 13th-century High Gothic cathedrals in Spain and is considered to be the masterpiece of the Gothic style in Spain. It was begun in 1226 under the rule of Ferdinand III and the last Gothic contributions were made in 1493 when the vaults of the central nave were finished during the time of the Catholic Monarchs.

It was modeled after the Bourges Cathedral, although its five naves plan is a consequence of the constructors' intention to cover all of the sacred space of the former city mosque with the cathedral, and of the former sahn with the cloister. It also combines some characteristics of the Mudéjar style, mainly in the cloister, with the presence of multifoiled arches in the triforium. The spectacular incorporation of light and the structural achievements of the ambulatory vaults are some of its more remarkable aspects.

The polychromatic stained glass windows date back to the 14th-16th centuries. The altarpiece in the main chapel has five sections, depicting scenes from the New Testament, along with life-sized polychromatic sculptures made of gilded wood. It was commissioned by Cardinal Cisneros and made between 1497 and 1504. The 15th century Santiago Chapel, has a flamboyant Gothic style and houses the sarcophagi of Alvaro de Luna and his wife Juana de Pimentel. The impressive choir is considered as one of the grandest in all Christendom. The grille that surrounds the choir is by Domingo de Cespedes. The lower choir stalls were begun in the 15th century depicting scenes of the surrender of cities and fortresses up until the conquest of Granada. The upper choir stalls are made up of 72 ceremonial chairs that were designed by Alonso de Berruguete and Felipe Vigarni, in the 16th century.

The so called 'Ochavo' is a large sumptuous room from the 16th century dedicated to the martyrs and witnesses of Christ, housing invaluable works of art, such as the reliquary of San Luis, a bust of St. John the Baptist and the cross of Cardinal Mendoza. It is possible to view works by Lucas Jordan and el Greco in the main sacristy.

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Founded: 1226-1493
Category: Religious sites in Spain

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Mackie McIntosh (3 years ago)
10€ is way steep for entry to church that isn't under construction (aka Sagrada Familia, which I will gladly pay over and over). I can understand 3-5€. Crowd control and ticketing procedures leave much to be desired, so bring your patience if this is a must-see for you. We peeked our heads in a side entrance and checked out the synagogue instead.
Rene Dowling (3 years ago)
Honestly speaking I expected a bit more although the Cathedral is beautiful it might look a bit dull because it looks very dark on the inside. The most disappointing place is the tower I expected a much better view definitely not a place to enjoy a beautiful view of Toledo. They also ask for 50 euro or Id card for the Audioguide. The worst thing about this place is that you cant pay by card for a single ticket.
Karine B (3 years ago)
I loved this cathedral. A definite yes to see it while you’re in Toledo. It is hard to believe that they would have a cathedral in this small old town but when you understand the historic significance of Toledo as a town, it made sense to have one there. It is quite big and has some unique features that I have never seen anywhere else. Please visit with a guide.
Dean Lyons (3 years ago)
A very rare 5 star review. One of the very best religious monuments I've ever been too. The Cathedral is large with many very different and unique features not found anywhere else in the world. The detail of the art and architectural work is fantastic. It's rare to want to spend 2 hours in a church! The tickets are bought outside and you get a free audio/video guide which is great. I wasn't offered a tower ticket. Don't know if I've missed something else?? Worth a visit to Toledo just for this, although it's a lovely city.
Louis Stejskal (3 years ago)
Allow some time to take this all in. We brought along our Rick Steve's Spain 2019 (highly recommended) Just excellent. Comparable opulence to the Vatican, just of course much less expansive in size and scope. The wait was very short when we visited on a Friday. We did not spend the night in Toledo but we wish we had.
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