Historic City of Toledo

Toledo, Spain

Successively a Roman municipium, the capital of the Visigothic Kingdom, a fortress of the Emirate of Cordoba, an outpost of the Christian kingdoms fighting the Moors and, in the 16th century, the temporary seat of supreme power under Charles V, Toledo is the repository of more than 2,000 years of history. Its masterpieces are the product of heterogeneous civilizations in an environment where the existence of three major religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – was a major factor.

Toledo is one of the Spanish cities with the greatest wealth of monuments. Toledo was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 for its extensive monumental and cultural heritage.

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Address

Plaza Mayor 1, Toledo, Spain
See all sites in Toledo

Details

Founded: around 200 BC
Category: Historic city squares, old towns and villages in Spain

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

J K (8 months ago)
Impressive gate to the city with lots of local shops selling local delicacies
Anthony Scott (13 months ago)
The architecture in this location as well as in the town of Toledo is so beautiful. Such a nice place to walk and see amazing views and enjoy the town with very nice people
Fernando Islas (2 years ago)
I used this as sort of a ‘marker’ because Toledo is a bit of a maze when walking through. I made my way into the city through one side and following roads in one direction and ended up on the complete other side but knowing exactly where I would end up by this monument. It’s huge and I highly suggest taking a couple of pictures while enjoying the scenery around the direct area. There are a couple of shops nearby as well that you should take a quick look at. It’s not much of a walk but it is a great spot to meet up or plan your walking trip around the city
Jorge Mario Montes Restrepo (2 years ago)
Just great. One of the best towns I've seen
Jonny Erixon (2 years ago)
A fantastic entrance to the old and interesting city. Opposite this gate is the tourist office, they are very helpful - it is smart to provide a free map there.
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Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Seville Cathedral

Seville's cathedral, Santa Maria de la Sede, is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, and is recognised as UNESCO World Heritage. After its completion in the early 16th century, Seville Cathedral supplanted Hagia Sophia as the largest cathedral in the world, a title the Byzantine church had held for nearly a thousand years.

History

The basilica occupies the site of the great Aljama mosque, built in the late 12th century by the Almohads, the ruling Moorish dynasty, of which the only remaining parts are the Patio de Naranjas, the Puerta del Perdon (on Calle Alemanes, on the north side), and the Giralda (formerly the minaret, now the belltower).

Shortly after Seville's conquest by Ferdinand III, the mosque was converted into the city's cathedral. Its orientation was changed and its spaces partitioned and adorned to suit Christian worship practices. The internal space was gradually divided into chapels by constructing walls in the bays along the northern and southern walls. Almost the entire eastern half of the cathedral was occupied by the royal chapel that would hold the bodies of Ferdinand, his wife and Alfonso the Wise.

In 1401, city leaders decided to build a new cathedral to replace the grand mosque that served as the cathedral until then. Construction continued until 1506. The clergy of the parish offered half their stipends to pay for architects, artists, stained glass artisans, masons, carvers, craftsman and labourers and other expenses. Five years after construction ended, in 1511, the crossing lantern, or cimborrio, collapsed and work on the cathedral recommenced. The crossing again collapsed in 1888 due an earthquake, and work on the dome continued until at least 1903.

Architecture

The interior has the longest nave of any cathedral in Spain. The central nave rises to a height of 42 metres. In the main body of the cathedral, the most noticeable features are the great boxlike choir loft, which fills the central portion of the nave, and the vast Gothic retablo of carved scenes from the life of Christ. This altarpiece was the lifetime work of a single craftsman, Pierre Dancart.

The Capilla Mayor (Great Chapel), dominated by a vast Gothic retablo (altarpiece) comprised of 45 carved scenes from the life of Christ, as well as Santa Maria de la Sede, the cathedral's patron saint. The lifetime's work of a single craftsman, Pierre Dancart, this is the ultimate masterpiece of the cathedral - the largest and richest altarpiece in the world and one of the finest examples of Gothic woodcarving anywhere.

The Giralda is the bell tower of the Cathedral of Seville. Its height is 105 m. The Giralda is the former minaret of the mosque that stood on the site under Muslim rule, and was built to resemble the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech, Morocco. It was converted into a bell tower for the cathedral after the Reconquista, although the topmost section dates from the Renaissance.

The tomb of Christopher Columbus is one of the main attractions of the cathedral for visitors, housing the remains of the great explorer who died in poverty in Valladolid. The tomb itself is more recent, from the 1892, with four bearers presenting the kingdoms of Castile, Leon, Aragon and Navarra.