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.
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.
Spanish fans are for sale in many shops, but I love these lacy ones.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The lower stalls tell the story of Granada’s conquest.
The organ in the choir towers overhead.
I love this amazing painting in one of the domes.
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.
Manolo at the front desk of the hotel.
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.
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. 🙂
I walk to an overlook near the 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.
After I leave the Sinagoga del Transito, I head next to the beautiful Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes.