Toledo Travel Guide
Toledo is one of Spain's loveliest small cities, bulwarked and supremely ancient, perched on a mangled piece of rock in the sun-drenched plains of central Spain. Originally established in 192 BC, it was the capital of the Spanish Empire and the cradle of Christian indoctrination for centuries. Here, the Romans, Visigoths, Jews, Moors and ultimately Christians came and saw and conquered in turns. This is where one of Spain's most famous artists, El Greco, lived and painted during the most prolific years of his life. This is where Cervantes' knight itinerant Don Quixote wooed Lady Dulcinea and then rode off into the La Mancha countryside to battle the bad apples. It is an historic city, to be sure, with a thoroughly enchanting old quarter with harrowingly narrow streets lined with well-preserved, centuries-old buildings, and atmospheric neighborhoods populated with outdoor cafés and restaurants. There are ancient squares and city gates, old synagogues and churches, well-trodden bridges and Roman remains, and museums brimming with history. The entire city, in fact, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a joy to discover.
Toledo is situated in central Spain in the province of Castilla-la-Mancha, some 44 miles (70 km) south of Madrid.
Priorities in Toledo include the city's two most dominant structures: the Gothic Toledo Catedral, begun in 1226 and more than 250 years in the making; and the Alcázar, a square, brick-construction fortress, set on the highest perch in the city, which now houses a military museum showcasing swords, shields, armor, guns and the like. Among others, Toledo's La Judería, the old Jewish quarter in the western part of the fortified city, is well worth a visit, as are the 15th-century monastery, El Monasterio de San Juan de Los Reyes, and two centuries-old bridges, Puente de San Martín and Puente de Alcántara, the latter of which has a 10th-century city gate, Puerta de Alcántara, adjacent to it. Of interest, too, are the Museo Parroquia Santo Tomé , Museo de Santa Cruz and Museo y Casa de El Greco where you can see El Greco's art.
Toledo's most famous dish is Bomba Toledana, a typical tapa invented here, while it's best-known confection is marzipan.
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