the monastery of san juan de los reyes & the streets of toledo

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.

San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes

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.

San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes

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.

San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes

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).

San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes

Since 1978-79, San Juan de los Reyes has been a fully functioning parish church.

San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes

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. 🙂

Streets of Toledo
Streets of Toledo
having dinner at another cafe
having dinner at another cafe
salmon salad
salmon salad

For dessert, I treat myself to a stracciatella gelato.

having a stracciatella gelato
having 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.  🙂

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the alcázar & the toledo city tour

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.

Alcázar of Toledo
Alcázar 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).

inside the military museum of the Alcázar of Toledo
inside the military museum of the Alcázar of Toledo
inside the military museum of the Alcázar of Toledo
inside the military museum of the Alcázar of Toledo

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.

Excavations at the Alcázar of Toledo
Excavations at the Alcázar of Toledo

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.

Alcázar of Toledo
Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo
the view to some important-looking building from the Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo
gardens at the Alcázar of Toledo

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.

Toledo City Tour
Toledo City Tour
Toledo City Tour
Toledo City Tour

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.

the Toledo train station
the Toledo train station
Toledo train station
Toledo train station
Toledo train station
Toledo train station

We then cross over the Rio Tajo.

Rio Tajo
Rio Tajo
Rio Tajo with the Alcázar of Toledo on its banks
Rio Tajo with the Alcázar of Toledo on its banks

We can see fabulous views of the Alcázar and Toledo’s skyline, including the Cathedral.

the Alcázar
the Alcázar
Rio Tajo
Rio Tajo
Catedral de Toledo
Catedral de Toledo
Cathedral
Cathedral
Rio Tajo
Rio Tajo
The Catedral and Alcázar
The Catedral and Alcázar
Catedral de Toledo
Catedral de Toledo
the Alcázar
the Alcázar
the Alcázar
the Alcázar
the Alcázar
the Alcázar
the Alcázar
the Alcázar
the Alcázar
the Alcázar
views of Toledo
views of Toledo
views of Toledo
views of Toledo
views of Toledo
views of Toledo
views of hillside homes in Toledo
views of hillside homes in Toledo
views of hillside homes in Toledo
views of hillside homes in Toledo

We can also see the San Juan de los Reyes Franciscan Monastery.

a view of San Juan de los Reyes Franciscan monastery
a view of San Juan de los Reyes Franciscan monastery
bridge over Rio Tajo
bridge over Rio Tajo
bridge over Rio Tajo
bridge over Rio Tajo
bridge over Rio Tajo
bridge over Rio Tajo
bridge over Rio Tajo
bridge over Rio Tajo
Views of Toledo
Views of Toledo

After I hop off the bus tour, I head through the streets of the city in search of the Catedral de Toledo.