Thursday, July 4: The next place I go on my walking tour is the Alcázar of Toledo, a stone fortification that sits at the highest part of Toledo.
In the third century, it was used as a Roman palace. Abd ar-Rahman III built an al-qasr (fortress) here in the 10th century; it was later altered by the Christians, according to Lonely Planet Spain.
It was restored under Charles I and Philip II of Spain in the 1540s. In 1521, Hernan Cortes was received by Charles I at the Alcázar, following Cortes’ conquest of the Aztecs. (Wikipedia: Alcazar of Toledo)
The Alcázar was largely destroyed during the siege of Franco’s forces in 1936 but Franco had it rebuilt and turned into a military museum (Lonely Planet Spain).
It’s a bit strange going in this place because it’s just a huge military museum. It’s easy to get lost! Only when you first enter can you see some excavated ruins. Otherwise, inside it’s just like any other museum.
There is no place to climb for a view unless you go through the library entrance and take an elevator up to a small, shabby cafeteria.
I’m not that interested in military history, so I find the whole thing a little disappointing. My favorite part is taking pictures from the garden outside.
After leaving the museum, I get on the hop-on, hop-off Toledo City Tour for 9 euros. Because of its narrow streets, Toledo is mostly a walking city. The tour actually takes you out of the city and across the river, the Rio Tajo. There really are not any real hop-on, hop-off options like in most cities. The only positive to the tour is that it takes you across the river where you can get some amazing views of the city.
Our first stop on the Toledo City Tour is the train station in Toledo, built in the Neo-Mudéjar architectural style using horseshoe arches and abstract shaped brick ornamentation for the façades.
We then cross over the Rio Tajo.
We can see fabulous views of the Alcázar and Toledo’s skyline, including the Cathedral.
We can also see the San Juan de los Reyes Franciscan Monastery.
After I hop off the bus tour, I head through the streets of the city in search of the Catedral de Toledo.