the catedral de toledo & sinagoga del transito

Thursday, July 4:  From the Toledo City Tour bus, I’m deposited off a small square near the Alcazar, where I find this strange sculpture.

a sculpture in a small square near the Alcazar
a sculpture in a small square near the Alcazar

Then I tackle the colorful streets of Toledo in search of the Catedral de Toledo, which I know happens to be close to my hotel.

Streets of Toledo
Streets of Toledo

Spanish fans are for sale in many shops, but I love these lacy ones.

Lacy Spanish fans
Lacy Spanish fans

I come upon an entrance to the Catedral, but obviously this one isn’t the right one, as you can only walk into the entryway and you can’t proceed further because of a locked wrought iron gate inside.

the back entrance to Catedral de Toledo
the back entrance to Catedral de Toledo

As I walk around the other side of the immense Catedral, where the official entrance must be, I decide to stop and have a little Tortellini Finas Hiervas & Granizado de Limon at Bar El Rojas.

Tortellini Finas Hiervas & Granizado de Limon at Bar El Rojas
Tortellini Finas Hiervas & Granizado de Limon at Bar El Rojas

Finally I walk around to the other side of the Catedral, where I must pay 8 euros to get in.

The Holy Church Cathedral is dedicated to the Virgin Mary in her Assumption to the heavens.  Construction began in 1227  over the foundations of the Visigoth Cathedral of the 6th century, which had been used as a mosque.  It’s constructed in a Gothic style with a French influence and is 120 meters long by 60 meters wide.  It contains 5 naves supported by 88 pillars and 72 vaults.

The Cathedral is the Mother Church of the diocese because it holds the chair or See of the Bishop.  The Eucharist and other liturgical celebrations are held here.

Catedral de Toledo
Catedral de Toledo

The main chapel is stunning, with its main altarpiece made of polychrome and golden wood, completed by numerous sculptors over a six-year period (1498-1504).  The atrium of the altarpiece is finished off with a huge Cavalry surrounded by a starry sky.

Catedral de Toledo
Catedral de Toledo
Catedral de Toledo
Catedral de Toledo
Catedral de Toledo
Catedral de Toledo
Catedral de Toledo
Catedral de Toledo

The Choir was built to accommodate the cathedral’s clergy.  A beautiful Gothic French sculpture from the 16th century called The White Blessed Virgin looks over the altar.

Catedral de Toledo
Catedral de Toledo

The lower stalls tell the story of Granada’s conquest.

Catedral de Toledo
Catedral de Toledo

The organ in the choir towers overhead.

Catedral de Toledo
Catedral de Toledo

I love this amazing painting in one of the domes.

Catedral de Toledo
Catedral de Toledo
Catedral de Toledo
Catedral de Toledo
Catedral de Toledo
Catedral de Toledo

After I finish at the Cathedral, I go back to my hotel to relax a bit.  All the shops seem to close in the late afternoon, much like they did in Oman, probably because of the high temperatures (100 degrees F) in the afternoon.  I’m exhausted and need to learn to slow down and take an afternoon off now and again.

my hotel: La Posada de Manolo
my hotel: La Posada de Manolo

Manolo at the front desk of the hotel.

La Posada de Manolo
La Posada de Manolo
La Posada de Manolo
La Posada de Manolo

I go out walking again to continue my stroll through history, in search of the two Jewish synagogues.  By the time I go back out in the afternoon, it’s sweltering.  I would have been better off had I come out later, as the sun was going down.  On the way to the synagogues, I pass by the cathedral again, as it’s right around the corner from my hotel.

Catedral de Toledo
Catedral de Toledo
Catedral de Toledo
Catedral de Toledo
Catedral de Toledo
Catedral de Toledo
Catedral de Toledo
Catedral de Toledo

I pass by more inviting balconies; I think everyone inside is still napping, which is the only thing one should be doing in this heat.🙂

another inviting balcony
another inviting balcony

I walk to an overlook near the Rio Tajo.

Rio Tajo
Rio Tajo

Finally, after taking quite a convoluted path, I arrive at the synagogue of Samuel ha-Levi, also known as the Sinagoga del Transito, which houses the Museo Sefardi.  This synagogue was built in the mid-14th century.  When the Jews were expelled in 1492, the Catholic Monarchs ceded to the Order of Calatrava the “main synagogue the Jews had in Toledo, in exchange for the Alcazar and Palacios de Galiana with the Church of Santa Fe, possessions of this Order.”

By 1494, the building was no longer used as a synagogue and became part of the Priory of St. Benedict.

inside Sinagoga del Transito
inside Sinagoga del Transito
inside Sinagoga del Transito
inside Sinagoga del Transito
Sinagoga del Transito
Sinagoga del Transito

After I leave the Sinagoga del Transito, I head next to the beautiful Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes.

4 thoughts on “the catedral de toledo & sinagoga del transito

  1. Love the balconies and the Cathedral! I dislike Picasso intensely and in general am not a big fan of the Spanish art (especially the sharp, angular sculptures all over the place – that is why the Gaudi tour with you was so much fun) but those massive cathedrals and ornate churches offer true respite for the soul and from the heat. I can feel their dank, musty coolness through your photos. You might need to invest in an umbrella if you insist on walking around midday in that heat, though, my friend. There is a reason the Spanish invented the siesta. ¡Andale!

    1. I love the balconies and cathedrals too, KvK. I’m not that big a fan of Picasso either, so it didn’t break my heart that I didn’t make it to the museum. I did love the Gaudi architecture, though. It’s so organic! Yes, those old cathedrals do offer a respite for the soul and you’re so right about their musty coolness.

      I’m all for the siesta now; did it in Toledo, but now that I’m the tour, I can’t really do it; however, I guarantee I’ll get back to it after the tour!

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