TOLEDO AND JEWISH TOLEDO, SPAIN PHOTOS.
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Toledo is located in central Spain, 70 km south of Madrid. It is the capital of the province of Toledo. It was the capital of Spain until the mid 16th century, and is still the capital of autonomous community of Castile-La Mancha. The historic city of Toledo was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 for its extensive cultural and monumental heritage. It was the home of the famous artist, El Greco, who came here in 1576, and many of his paintings can be found in the Toledo Cathedral. The intact medieval city with narrow streets is protected on three sides by steep bluffs leading to the River Tajo.
Having been populated since the Bronze Age, Toledo was known for religious tolerance and had large community of Jews until they all were expelled from Spain in 1492.
Today's city contains the Jewish remnents of life from 1492 such as the Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca which dates prior to the expulsion.
KEY SITES TO VISIT ARE DESCRIBED BELOW.
Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca
Built by Moslem workers in 1200.Became a church in 1492. Used as a stable by Napolean's troops. This Mudéjar construction was built in 1180. It has five naves separated by pillars supporting horseshoe arches. In the 15th century it was converted into a church, although today it is simply a monument which is open to visitors. It has a coffered wooden ceiling, Plateresque altars and an altarpiece by the school of Berruguete. it was constructed in Christian territory, the Kingdom of Castile, by Islamic constructors, for Jewish use and owers. It is considered a symbol of the cooperation of the three cultures who populated the Iberian Peninsula in the Middle Ages. The synagogue is a Mudejar construction, created by Moorish architects in Christian soil, for non-Islamic purposes. But it can also be considered one of the finest example of the Almohad architecture, because of the construction elements and style. The white, plain interior walls, the use of brick and of pillars instead of columns and the vegetal decoration of the capitals are characteristical of the Almohad architecture.
Primate Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo
The cathedral of Toledo is one of the three 13th-century High Gothic cathedrals in Spain and is considered, in the opinion of some authorities, to be the magnum opus 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 the 15th century when, in 1493, 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. It is built with white limestone from the quarries of Olihuelas, near Toledo.
In the lower part of the great façade is the portal divided by a column-mullion. Above the doors are the tympanum sculpted with themes of the genealogy of the Virgin whose designers were the same who worked on the exterior of this portal. On top of the tympanum is the plateresque carving with a great medallion of the Coronation of the Virgin in the center, the work of Gregorio Pardo (eldest son of Felipe Vigarny). On both sides are the statues of David and Solomon, attributed to Esteban Jamete. Not far, is a relief of Moses and 10 Commandments. Other treasures highlighted in this gallery from the Cathedral include the El Greco painting "The Spoliation", and his self portrait.
Puente de San Martín
The Puente de San Martín is a medieval bridge across the river Tajo in Toledo, Spain. The bridge was constructed in the late 14th century by archbishop Pedro Tenorio to provide access to the old town from the west, complementing the older Puente de Alcantara linking to the east. Both sides of the bridge were heavily fortified with towers, the more recent dating from the 16th century. The Puente de San Martín features five arches, with the largest in the middle reaching an impressive span length of 40 m. Only very few bridges in the world had reached that mark until then.
Photos shot while on a Tauck Tour of Portugal and Spain in September, 2016.
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Europe Up Close- Toledo, Spain Travel Information