Europe 2013-Citizens of the Republic of Ushington visit England, France and Spain travel blog

Views from Mirador del Valle viewpoint







These tiles indicate that you are in the Jewish quarter



A church in the Jewish quarter, displaying shackles of freed slaves


The only remaining evidence of the synagogue

Another viewpoint in the city

Looking to the other side of the river where there are large...


Interior of Sinagoga del Tránsito


Women's gallery


Torah cover and pointers


Tombstones-moved from the former cemetery on the edge of town

Typical street-narrow and winding like everywhere else

Toledo cobblestones


First view of the Catedral Primada Santa María de Toledo



Facade detail

Across from the cathedral-sort of a town hall

Decorations in preparation for the Corpus Christi Festival

Rose window

7 o'clock on the window

Entrance to the treasury

Treasury ceiling

Reproduction of a 13th century Bible

Actual page from the 13th century Bible


Coral crucifix




A cardinal is buried in the floor under this hat

Fresco in the cloister

Church spire-from the cloister

Altar gate from 1548



Main altar details


One of the 3 organs

Mary in the choir-portrayed as happy!

Ceiling carvings behind the main altar


Behind the main altar is a greatly decorated wall

Caravaggio painting

El Greco painting

Beautiful Gothic arches

Main street

Plaza de Zocodover-banners in preparation for Corpus Christi



Decorated Street

Old city gate

A lovely place for lunch



Fabulous crispy eggplant and honey appetizer

Why is Graham so happy?

He is about to eat this crispy suckling pig!




Early to rise gets you in front of the line for breakfast. Today we took a quick train ride (35 minutes) to the city of Toledo. We were met at the station by our wonderful guide, Javier. I have lots of recommendations for good private guides. He was definitely one of our favorites.

Toledo was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986. Our first stop was at Mirador del Valle viewpoint, from which panoramic views of the city are found. The city was known for the peaceful coexistence of Muslims, Jews and Christians during the time period from around 900 AD until the expulsion of the Jews in 1492. Because of the river surrounding it on 3 sides, it was a great location for security, and only needed a wall on one side.

We toured the Jewish quarter, which makes up about 10% of the area of the old city. There are tiles embedded in the sidewalks that mark the area of the quarter. The influence of Moorish design is evident in many of the buildings here and in the rest of the city. Even the railway station was beautifully decorated with tiles and arches.

Santa María la Blanca is a synagogue built in the 12th century. It may seem incongruous for synagogues to have Christian names, but after the expulsion, the buildings were renamed. The synagogue is in Moorish in design. The only remaining sign that it was once a synagogue is a Star of David atop one of the arches. The synagogue is now owned and maintained by the Catholic church. Javier said that it would be returned to the Jewish community if anyone decided to come back to use it. There is probably not much chance of that!

We also visited Sinagoga del Tránsito, which houses a museum of Sephardic culture. This synagogue was built in the 14th century.

One of the primary tourist attractions in Toledo is the Catedral Primada Santa María de Toledo. This is a huge Gothic cathedral built in the 13th century. It is the second largest cathedral in Spain, next to the one in Seville. It was amazing to see, especially the treasury which houses a large monstrance (vessel for holding the host during Eucharist). It was built in the 16th century, using many kg of gold and silver and untold numbers of precious gems. The monstrance is carried through the streets of the city during the festival of Corpus Christi, which occurs around May 30. The city is in the process of being decorated with lanterns and banners in preparation for the processions which will occur.

There is a Star of David at the 7 o’clock position of the rose window, and a statue of a Muslim man near the main altar-two acknowledgements of the harmony in which the 3 religions co-existed – at least for a while.

The cathedral also houses the famous El Greco painting The Burial of the Count of Orgaz, which is of enormous proportions.

We had a delicious lunch at a restaurant recommended by Javier, then wandered around for a bit before our train back to Madrid.

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