Thursday, July 4: After visiting the Sinagoga, I head up the street to the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes. This monastery was built by the Catholic King and Queen, Isabel (Elizabeth) and Fernando (Ferdinand) to commemorate their victory at the Battle of Toro (1476) over the army of Alfonso of Portugal.
The Church is dedicated to Saint John the Evangelist, patron saint of King Juan II. Common opinion says that it was intended to be used by the Catholic Monarchs as a pantheon (royal burial-place), but this idea changed after the conquest of Granada in 1492. They were actually buried in the Chapel Royal of Granada Cathedral.
The Monastery was built in the Gothic Flemish school of architecture. Construction began in 1477. The building is of solid granite stone.
The lower cloisters, with 24 Gothic vaulted ceilings and distinct ‘mudejar’ influence, open out into the garden through five large windows with center partitions which has decorative tracery. The Gothic-form arches rest on pillars with relief carvings of flora and fauna.
I adore the cloisters of this monastery.
The ceiling is constructed of highly crafted larch wood, painted with the motifs and coat of arms of the Catholic Monarchs – the initials F and Y (Fernando and Isabel).
Since 1978-79, San Juan de los Reyes has been a fully functioning parish church.
I head back through the streets of Toledo, where I stop at a cafe near my hotel for a light dinner of salmon salad. I’ve been drinking white wine in Toledo, something I don’t normally drink, because the chilled wine is the perfect antidote to the high temperatures. 🙂
For dessert, I treat myself to a stracciatella gelato.
I’m starting to get a little worn down from all my travels and from trying to do too much. I go back to my room early tonight, around 10:00, and relax in my air-conditioned room. I think tomorrow in Toledo, I will sleep in and make it more of a restful day. 🙂