Toledo, Spain – November 21, 2009
This was our first venture to Toledo. It is only about an hour south of our home. We went with our good friend Anne Nadler. She and her husband Chris are currently touring Spain.
The old city of Toledo is bordered on three sides by the Rio Tagus. One of the best-known bridges over the Rio Tagus at Toledo is the Puente de Alcántara. The bridge dates to the Roman era. It is an amazing bridge to view, in part because of its age.
Toledo has the distinction of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986. The town is literally ancient. One of the first written references to the city dates as far back as 17 AD!
When we arrived, we parked in an underground structure that was very near the Alcázar. When we emerged from the parking structure, the first thing we saw was the Alcázar. It is a very imposing, castle or fort-like building. Walking along one side of the Alcázar, we could see bullet marks on the face of the building. We believe those were from the Spanish Civil War. In front of the Alcázar are a very pretty sculpture and a relief. The entire sculpture is known as the Monument to Victory. Unfortunately, we were not able to enter.
As we continued walking through the narrow, winding streets of the old city, we came across an opening from which we could see across the rooftops to the church of San Ildefonso. That church is not as large as the cathedral; however, it is quite large in its own right. It is a Jesuit church.
Shortly after that, we saw a very small fish market, Pepe’s. It was at the end of the street. It was fairly early in the morning, maybe 09:00. Regardless, there was a lady there buying some fish.
One of the things that Toledo is very famous for is steel. It is the steel capital of Spain. Because of that, there are swords in virtually every gift shop. Some of the shops look like a veritable armory for the middle ages.
Calle de Comercio is one of the main streets in Toledo. As the name implies, there are shops galore. As one walks toward the cathedral, there is a point along the street from which the spire of the cathedral can be seen. I can recall how disoriented we were during this visit. The streets are so narrow and winding that it is often difficult to tell where you are. Seeing the Cathedral spire was somewhat of a welcome sight.
Scooters are a very popular mode of transportation in Spanish cities. I believe that is due to the narrow streets and the normal congestion caused by the numerous vehicles. We stopped in a small art gallery. When we came out we saw a scooter which is used by the Spanish mail system. It was brilliant yellow and hard to miss.
Shortly after we left the gallery, we made it to the front facade of the cathedral. It is truly an imposing structure. The construction of the cathedral started in 1226. However, completion lingered on until 1493. It utterly dominates the square in front of the municipal building.
Leaving the cathedral, we walked along Calle del Cardenal Cisneros. It hugs one side of the cathedral. Like so many other cities in Spain, it is amazing that vehicles can make it through the streets. I am always happier when I park my 4Runner just outside of the city center. That way I don’t have to worry about whether or not it will fit through the city streets.
One of the main gathering places in the city is the Plaza de Zocodover. Supposedly, the name Zocodover is a derivative of Suk-al-Dawab. That is an Arabic word that means the animal market.
The Plaza del Miradero is on an overlook. From there, one can see the Rio Tagus as it makes its way along the east side of the city. It has fairly recently undergone a renovation. As a result, it has a very modern look.
Toledo is definitely one of the “must-see” cities in Spain.