Toledo, Spain

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Toledo at sunrise — The Alcázar on the left and Cathedral on the right dominate the skyline
Toledo at sunrise — The Alcázar on the left and Cathedral on the right dominate the skyline
Flag of Toledo
Coat of arms of Toledo
Coat of arms
Toledo is located in Castile-La Mancha
Location of Toledo within the Castile-La Mancha
Toledo is located in Spain
Location of Toledo within Spain
Coordinates: 39°51′24″N 4°1′28″W / 39.85667°N 4.02444°W / 39.85667; -4.02444Coordinates: 39°51′24″N 4°1′28″W / 39.85667°N 4.02444°W / 39.85667; -4.02444
Country Spain Spain
Autonomous Community Castilla-La Mancha Castile–La Mancha
Province Toledo
Comarca Toledo
Partido judicial Toledo
Settled Pre-Roman
 • Mayor Milagros Tolón (PSOE)
 • Land 232.1 km2 (89.6 sq mi)
Elevation 529 m (1,736 ft)
Population (2012)INE
 • Total 84,019
Postcode 45001-45009
Area code(s) +34

Toledo (Spanish: [toˈleðo]) is a municipality located in central Spain, 70 km south of Madrid. It is the capital of the province of Toledo and the autonomous community of Castile–La Mancha. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 for its extensive cultural and monumental heritage and historical co-existence of Christian, Muslim and Jewish cultures.

Toledo is known as the "Imperial City" for having been the main venue of the court of Charles I, and as the "City of the Three Cultures", having been influenced by a historical co-existence of Christians, Muslims and Jews. In 1085, the city fell to Alfonso VI of Castile as the first major city in the Christian Reconquista. Toledo has a history in the production of bladed weapons, which are now popular souvenirs of the city.

People who were born or have lived in Toledo include Brunhilda of Austrasia, Al-Zarqali, Garcilaso de la Vega, Eleanor of Toledo, Alfonso X and El Greco. It was also the place of important historic events such as the Visigothic Councils of Toledo. As of 2012, the city has a population of 84,019 and an area of 232.1 km2 (89.6 sq mi).

Coat of arms[edit]

The town was granted arms in the 16th century, which by special royal privilege was based on the royal of arms of Spain.


Puerta del Sol, Collotype 1889

Toledo (Latin: Toletum) is mentioned by the Roman historian Livy (ca. 59 BCE – 17 CE) as urbs parva, sed loco munita (“a small city, but fortified by location”). Roman general Marcus Fulvius Nobilior fought a battle near the city in 193 BCE against a confederation of Celtic tribes including the Vaccaei, Vettones, and Celtiberi, defeating them and capturing a king called Hilermus.[1][2] At that time, Toletum was a city of the Carpetani tribe, and part of the region of Carpetania.[3] It was incorporated into the Roman Empire as a civitas stipendiaria, that is, a tributary city of non-citizens. It later achieved the status of municipium by Flavian times.[4] With this status, city officials, even of Carpetani origin, obtained Roman citizenship for public service, and the forms of Roman law and politics were increasingly adopted.[5] At approximately this time were constructed in Toletum a Roman circus, city walls, public baths, and a municipal water supply and storage system.[6]

The Roman circus in Toledo was one of the largest in Hispania, at 423 meters long and 100 meters wide, with a track dimension of 408 meters long and 86 meters wide.[7] Chariot races were held on special holidays and were also commissioned by private citizens to celebrate career achievements. A fragmentary stone inscription records circus games paid for by a citizen of unknown name to celebrate his achieving the sevirate, a kind of priesthood conferring high status. Archaeologists have also identified portions of a special seat of the sort used by the city elites to attend circus games, called a sella curulis. The circus could hold up to 15000 spectators.[8]

Remains of Roman circus at Toledo.

During Roman times, Toledo was never a provincial capital nor a conventus iuridicus.[9] It started to gain importance in late antiquity. There are indications that large private houses (domus) within the city walls were enlarged, while several large villas were built north of the city through the third and fourth centuries.[10] Games were held in the circus into the late fourth and early fifth centuries C.E., also an indication of active city life and ongoing patronage by wealthy elites.[11] A church council was held in Toledo in the year 400 to discuss the conflict with Priscillianism.[12] A second council of Toledo was held in 527. The Visigothic king Theudis was in Toledo in 546, where he promulgated a law. This is strong though not certain evidence that Toledo was the chief residence for Theudis.[9] King Athanagild died in Toledo, probably in 568. Although Theudis and Athangild based themselves in Toledo, Toledo was not yet the capital city of the Iberian peninsula, as Theudis and Athangild's power was limited in extent, the Suevi ruling Galicia and local elites dominating Lusitania, Betica, and Cantabria.[13][14] This changed with Liuvigild (Leovigild), who brought the peninsula under his control. The Visigoths ruled from Toledo until the Moors conquered the Iberian peninsula in the early years of 8th century (711–719).

A series of church councils was held in Toledo under the Visigoths. A synod of Arian bishops was held in 580 to discuss theological reconciliation with Nicene Christianity.[15] Liuvigild's successor, Reccared, hosted the third council of Toledo, at which the Visigothic kings abandoned Arianism and reconciled with the existing Hispano-Roman episcopate.[16] A synod held in 610 transferred the metropolitanate of the old province of Carthaginensis from Cartagena to Toledo.[17] At that time, Cartagena was ruled by the Byzantines, and this move ensured a closer relation between the bishops of Spain and the Visigothic kings. King Sisebut forced Jews in the Visigothic kingdom to convert to Christianity; this act was criticized and efforts were made to reverse it at the Fourth Council of Toledo in 633.[18] The Fifth and Sixth Councils of Toledo placed church sanctions on anyone who would challenge the Visigothic kings.[19] The Seventh Council of Toledo instituted a requirement that all bishops in the area of a royal city, that is, of Toledo, must reside for one month per year in Toledo. This was a stage in "the elevation of Toledo as the primatial see of the whole church of the Visgothic kingdom".[20] In addition, the seventh council declared that any clergy fleeing the kingdom, assisting conspirators against the king, or aiding conspirators, would be excommunicated and no one should remove this sentence. The ban on lifing these sentences of excommunication was lifted at the Eighth Council of Toledo in 653, at which, for the first time, decisions were signed by palace officials as well as bishops.[21]

The eighth council of Toledo took measures that enhanced Toledo's significance as the center of royal power in the Iberian peninsula. The council declared that the election of a new king following the death of the old one should only take place in the royal city, or wherever the old king died.[22] In practice this handed the power to choose kings to only such palace officials and military commanders who were in regular attendance on the king. The decision also took king-making power away from the bishops, who would be in their own sees and would not have time to come together to attend the royal election. The decision did allow the bishop of Toledo, alone among bishops, to be involved in decisions concerning the royal Visigothic succession. The ninth and tenth councils were held in rapid succession in 655 and 656.[23]

When Reccesuinth died in 672 at his villa in Gerticos, his successor Wamba was elected on the spot, then went to Toledo to be anointed king by the bishop of Toledo, according to the procedures laid out in prior church councils.[24] In 673, Wamba defeated a rebel duke named Paul, and held his victory parade in Toledo. The parade included ritual humiliation and scalping of the defeated Paul. [25] Wamba carried out renovation works in Toledo in 674-675, marking these with inscriptions above the city gates that are no longer extant but were recorded in the eighth century.[26] The Eleventh Council of Toledo was held in 675 under king Wamba. Wamba weakened the power of the bishop of Toledo by creating a new bishopric outside Toledo at the church of Saints Peter and Paul. This was one of the main churches of Toledo and was the church where Wamba was anointed king, and the church from which Visigothic kings departed for war after special ceremonies in which they were presented with a relic of the True Cross. By creating a new bishopric there, Wamba removed power over royal succession from the bishop of Toledo and granted it to the new bishop.[27] The Twelfth Council of Toledo was held in 681 after Wamba's removal from office. Convinced that he was dying, Wamba had accepted a state of penitence that according to the decision of a previous church council, made him inelegible to remain king. The Twelfth Council, led by newly installed bishop Julian confirmed the validity of Wamba's removal from office and his succession by Ervig. The Twelfth Council eliminated the new bishopric that Wamba had created and returned the powers over succession to the bishop of Toledo.[28]

The Twelfth Council of Toledo approved 28 laws against the Jews. Julian of Toledo, despite a Jewish origin, was strongly anti-Semitic as reflected in his writings and activities.[29] The leading Jews of Toledo were assembled in the church of Saint Mary on January 27th, 681, where the new laws were read out to them.

The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Councils of Toledo were held in 683, 684, and 688. The Thirteenth Council restored property and legal rights to those who had rebelled against King Wamba in 673.[30] The Thirteenth Council also approved laws protecting the king's family after the king's death. In 687, Ervig took the penitent state before dying, and the kingship passed to Egica, who was anointed king in Toledo on November 24.[31] In 688, the Fifteenth Council lifted the ban on taking property from the families of former kings, whereupon Egica was able to plunder Ervig's family properties.[32]

In the late seventh century, Toledo became a main center of literacy and writing in the Iberian peninsula. Toledo's development as a center of learning was influenced by Isidore of Seville, an author and advocate of literacy who attended several church councils in Toledo.[33] King Chindasuinth had a royal library in Toledo, and at least one count called Laurentius had a private library.[34] Sometime before 651, Chindasuinth sent the bishop of Zaragoza, Taio, to Rome to obtain books that were not available in Toledo. Taio obtained, at least, parts of pope Gregory's Moralia.[35] The library also contained a copy of a Hexameron by Dracontius, which Chindasuinth liked so much that he commissioned Eugenius II to revise it by adding a new part dealing with the seventh day of creation.[36] Chindasuinth issued laws that were gathered together in a book called Liber Iudiciorum by his successor Reccesuinth in 654; this book was revised twice, widely copied, and was an important influence on medieval Spanish law.[37] Three bishops of Toledo wrote works that were widely copied and disseminated in western Europe and parts of which survive to this day: Eugenius II, Ildefonsus, and Julian.[38] "In intellectual terms the leading Spanish churchmen of the seventh century had no equals before the appearance of Bede."[39]

In 693, the Sixteenth Council of Toledo condemned Sisebert, Julian's successor as bishop of Toledo, for having rebelled against King Egica in alliance with Liuvigoto, the widow of king Ervig.[40] A rebel king called Suniefred seized power in Toledo briefly at about this time. Whether or not Sisebert's and Suniefred's rebellions were the same or separate is unknown. Suniefred is known only from having minted coins in Toledo during what should have been Egica's reign.[41] The Seventeenth Council of Toledo was held in 694. The Eighteenth Council of Toledo, the last one, took place shortly after Egica's death around 702 or 703.[42]

By the end of the seventh century the bishop of Toledo was the leader of the Spanish bishops, a situation unusual in Europe: "The metropolitan bishops of Toledo had achieved by the last quarter of the seventh century an authority and a primacy that was unique in Western Europe. Not even the pope could count on such support from neighbouring metropolitans."[43] Toledo "had been matched by no other city in western Europe outside Italy as the governmental and symbolic center of a powerful monarchy."[44]

When Wittiza died around 710, Ruderic became Visigothic king in Toledo, but the kingdom was split, as a rival king Achila ruled Tarraconensis and Narbonensis.[45] Meanwhile, Arabic and Berber troops under Musa ibn Nusayr had conquered Tangiers and Ceuta between 705 and 710, and commenced raids into the Visigothic kingdom in 711.[46] Ruderic led an army to confront the raiders. He was defeated and killed in battle, apparently after being betrayed by Visigothic nobles who wished to replace him as king and did not consider the Arabs and Berbers a serious threat. The commander of the invading forces was Tariq bin Ziyad, a Luwata Berber freedman in the service of governor Musa.[47] It is possible that a king called Oppa ruled in Toledo between Ruderic's death and the fall of Toledo.[48] Tariq, seizing the opportunity presented by the death of Ruderic and the internal divisions of the Visigothic nobles, captured Toledo, in 711 or 712.[49] Governor Musa disembarked in Cadiz and proceeded to Toledo, where he executed numerous Visigothic nobles, thus destroying much of the Visigothic power structure.[50][51] Collins suggests that the Visigothic emphasis on Toledo as the center of royal ceremony became a weakness. Since the king was chosen in or around Toledo, by nobles based in Toledo, and had to be anointed king by the bishop of Toledo in a church in Toledo, when Tariq captured Toledo and executed the Visigothic nobles, having already killed the king, there was no way for the Visigoths to select a legitimate king.[52][53]

Soon after the conquest, Musa and Tariq returned to Damascus. The Arab center of administration was placed first in Seville, then moved to Cordoba. Arab conquerors had often replaced former capital cities with new ones to mark the change in political power, and they did so here: "Toledo suffered a period of profound decline throughout much of the earlier centuries of Arab dominance in the peninsula."[54]

Under the Umayyad Caliphate of Cordoba, Toledo was the centre of numerous insurrections dating from 761 to 857.[55] The Banu Qasi gained nominal control of the city until 920 and in 932 Abd-ar-Rahman III captured the city following an extensive siege.[56] Toledo experienced a period known as La Convivencia, i.e. the co-existence of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Under Islamic Arab rule, Toledo was called Ṭulayṭulah. After the fall of the caliphate, Toledo was the capital city of one of the richest Taifas of Al-Andalus. Its population was overwhelmingly Muladi, and, because of its central location in the Iberian Peninsula, Toledo took a central position in the struggles between the Muslim and Christian rulers of northern Spain. The conquest of Toledo by Alfonso VI of Castile in 1085 marked the first time a major city in Al-Andalus was captured by Christian forces; it served to sharpen the religious aspect of the Christian reconquest.

On May 25, 1085, Alfonso VI of Castile took Toledo and established direct personal control over the Moorish city from which he had been exacting tribute, ending the medieval Taifa's Kingdom of Toledo. This was the first concrete step taken by the combined kingdom of Leon-Castile in the Reconquista by Christian forces. After Castilian conquest, Toledo continued to be a major cultural centre; its Arab libraries were not pillaged, and a tag-team translation centre was established in which books in Arabic or Hebrew would be translated into Castilian by Muslim and Jewish scholars, and from Castilian into Latin by Castilian scholars, thus letting long-lost knowledge spread through Christian Europe again. For some time during the 16th century, Toledo served as the capital city of Castile, and the city flourished. However, soon enough the Spanish court was moved, first to Valladolid and then to Madrid, thus letting the city's importance dwindle until the late 20th century, when it became the capital of the autonomous community of Castile–La Mancha. Nevertheless, the economic decline of the city helped to preserve its cultural and architectural heritage. Today, because of this rich heritage, Toledo is one of Spain's foremost cities, receiving thousands of visitors yearly. Under the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toledo multiple persecutions (633, 653, 693) and stake burnings of Jews (638 CE) occurred; the Kingdom of Toledo followed up on this tradition (1368, 1391, 1449, 1486–1490 CE) including forced conversions and mass murder and the rioting and blood bath against the Jews of Toledo (1212 CE).[57][58]

During the persecution of the Jews in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, members of the Jewish community of Toledo produced texts on their long history in Toledo. It was at this time that Don Isaac Abrabanel, a prominent Jewish figure in Spain in the 15th century and one of the king's trusted courtiers who witnessed the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492, wrote that Toledo was named Ṭulayṭulah by its first Jewish inhabitants who, he stated, settled there in the 5th century BCE, and which name – by way of conjecture – may have been related to its Hebrew cognate טלטול (= wandering), on account of their wandering from Jerusalem. He says, furthermore, that the original name of the city was Pirisvalle, so-called by its early pagan inhabitants.[59] However, there is no archaeological or historical evidence for Jewish presence in this region prior to the time of the Roman Empire; when the Romans first wrote about Toledo it was a Celtic city.[60][61]

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1991 59,000 —    
1996 66,006 +11.9%
2001 68,382 +3.6%
2004 73,485 +7.5%
2006 77,601 +5.6%

Toledo's Alcázar (Arabicized Latin word for palace-castle) became renowned in the 19th and 20th centuries as a military academy. At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, its garrison was famously besieged by Republican forces.


Toledo has a cold semi-arid climate (Köppen: BSk) bordering on a Mediterranean climate (Csa) as found across most of south-central Spain. Winters are mild while summers are hot and dry. Precipitation is low and mainly concentrated in the period mid autumn through to mid spring. The highest temperature ever recorded in Toledo was 43.1 °C (109.58 °F) on 10 August 2012; the lowest was −9.1 °C (15.6 °F) on 27 January 2005.

Climate data for Toledo, Spain 515m (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 22.0
Average high °C (°F) 11.5
Daily mean °C (°F) 6.4
Average low °C (°F) 1.3
Record low °C (°F) −9.6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 26
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 5 5 4 6 6 3 1 2 3 7 6 6 54
Average relative humidity (%) 76 69 59 58 54 45 39 41 51 66 74 79 59
Mean monthly sunshine hours 151 172 228 249 286 337 382 351 260 210 157 126 2,922
Source: Agencia Estatal de Meteorologia[62]


Zocodover square after the Corpus Christi festivities.

The metal-working industry has historically been Toledo's economic base, with a great tradition in the manufacturing of swords and knives and a significant production of razor blades, medical devices and electrical products. Soap and toothpaste industries, flour milling, glass and ceramics have also been important.[63] (The Toledo Blade, the American newspaper in Toledo's Ohio namesake city, is named in honor of the sword-making tradition.)

The Museum Santa Cruz.

According to the Statistical Institute of Castilla-La Mancha, in 2007 the distribution of employment by sectors of occupation was as follows: 86.5% of the population engaged in the services, 6.6% in construction, 5.4% in industry and 1.5% in agriculture and livestock.[64]

Puerta de Bisagra.

The manufacture of swords in the city of Toledo goes back to Roman times, but it was under Moorish rule and during the Reconquista that Toledo and its guild of sword-makers played a key role. Between the 15th and 17th centuries the Toledo sword-making industry enjoyed a great boom, to the point where its products came to be regarded as the best in Europe. Swords and daggers were made by individual craftsmen, although the sword-makers guild oversaw their quality. In the late 17th and early 18th century production began to decline, prompting the creation of the Royal Arms Factory in 1761 by order of King Carlos III. The Royal Factory brought together all the sword-makers guilds of the city and it was located in the former mint. In 1777, recognizing the need to expand the space, Carlos III commissioned the architect Sabatini to construct a new building on the outskirts of the city. This was the beginning of several phases of expansion. Its importance was such that it eventually developed into a city within the city of Toledo.

Historical swords and souvenirs of Toledo.

In the 20th century, the production of knives and swords for the army was reduced to cavalry weapons only, and after the Spanish Civil War, to the supply of swords to the officers and NCOs of the various military units. Following the closure of the factory in the 1980s, the building was renovated to house the campus of the Technological University of Castilla-La Mancha in Toledo.[65]


In the last decade, unemployment in absolute terms has remained fairly stable in the city of Toledo, but in 2009 this figure increased significantly: nearly 62% compared to 2008, with the number of unemployed rising from 2,515 to 4,074 (figures at 31 March each year), according to the Junta de Comunidades de Castilla La Mancha.[66] Of this 62%, one third of the increase took place in the first quarter.

According to other statistics from the same source, almost half the unemployed in the city of Toledo (1,970 persons) are among those whose education does not go beyond the compulsory secondary level. However, there are groups whose level of studies is such that they have not been registered as unemployed, such as those who have completed class 1 professional training, or those with virtually nonexistent unemployment rates (less than 0.1%), which is the case of unemployed with high school degrees or professional expertise.

The largest group among the unemployed is those who have no qualifications (27.27%).


Toledo City Hall.

Toledo has a 25-member City Council, elected by closed lists every four years. The 2011 election saw a pact made between the 11 members of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) and the 2 members of the United Left, to retain the position of the PSOE's Emiliano García-Page Sánchez as mayor, which he has been since 2007.


A vista de Toledo: the city of Toledo as depicted in the Codex Vigilanus in 976.

The old city is located on a mountaintop with a 150 degree view, surrounded on three sides by a bend in the Tagus River, and contains many historical sites, including the Alcázar, the cathedral (the primate church of Spain), and the Zocodover, a central market place.

From the 4th century to the 16th century about thirty synods were held at Toledo. The earliest, directed against Priscillian, assembled in 400. At the synod of 589 the Visigothic King Reccared declared his conversion from Arianism to Catholicism; the synod of 633 decreed uniformity of catholic liturgy throughout the Visigothic kingdom and took stringent measures against baptized Jews who had relapsed into their former faith. Other councils forbade circumcision, Jewish rites and observance of the Sabbath and festivals. Throughout the seventh century, Jews were flogged, executed, had their property confiscated, were subjected to ruinous taxes, forbidden to trade and, at times, dragged to the baptismal font.[67] The council of 681 assured to the archbishop of Toledo the primacy of Spain. At Guadamur, very close to Toledo, was dug in 1858 the Treasure of Guarrazar, the best example of Visigothic art in Spain.

Vista de Toledo: the View of Toledo by resident El Greco c. 1608.

As nearly one hundred early canons of Toledo found a place in the Decretum Gratiani, they exerted an important influence on the development of ecclesiastical law. The synod of 1565–1566 concerned itself with the execution of the decrees of the Council of Trent; and the last council held at Toledo, 1582–1583, was guided in detail by Philip II.

Toledo was famed for religious tolerance and had large communities of Muslims and Jews until they were expelled from Spain in 1492 (Jews) and 1502 (Mudejars). Today's city contains the religious monuments the Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca, the Synagogue of El Transito, Mosque of Cristo de la Luz and the church of San Sebastián dating from before the expulsion, still maintained in good condition. Among Ladino-speaking Sephardi Jews, in their various diasporas, the family name Toledano is still prevalent—indicating an ancestry traced back to this city (the name is also attested among non-Jews in various Spanish-speaking countries).

In the 13th century, Toledo was a major cultural centre under the guidance of Alfonso X, called "El Sabio" ("the Wise") for his love of learning. The Toledo School of Translators, that had commenced under Archbishop Raymond of Toledo, continued to bring vast stores of knowledge to Europe by rendering great academic and philosophical works in Arabic into Latin. The Palacio de Galiana, built in the Mudéjar style, is one of the monuments that remain from that period.

The Cathedral of Toledo (Catedral de Toledo) was built between 1226–1493 and modeled after the Bourges Cathedral, though it also combines some characteristics of the Mudéjar style. It is remarkable for its incorporation of light and features the Baroque altar called El Transparente, several stories high, with fantastic figures of stucco, paintings, bronze castings, and multiple colors of marble, a masterpiece of medieval mixed media by Narciso Tomé topped by the daily effect for just a few minutes of a shaft of light from which this feature of the cathedral derives its name. Two notable bridges secured access to Toledo across the Tajo, the Alcántara bridge and the later built San Martín bridge.

The Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes is a Franciscan monastery, built 1477–1504, in a remarkable combination of Gothic-Spanish-Flemish style with Mudéjar ornamentation.

Toledo was home to El Greco for the latter part of his life, and is the subject of some of his most famous paintings, including The Burial of the Count of Orgaz, exhibited in the Church of Santo Tomé.

When Philip II moved the royal court from Toledo to Madrid in 1561, the old city went into a slow decline from which it never recovered.

Toledo steel[edit]

Toledo has been a traditional sword-making, steel-working centre since about 500 BC, and came to the attention of Rome when used by Hannibal in the Punic Wars. Soon, it became a standard source of weaponry for Roman Legions.[68]

Toledo steel was famed for its very high quality alloy,[69] whereas Damascene steel, a competitor from the Middle Ages on, was famed for a specific metal-working technique.[70]


Inside Iglesia de San Ildelfonso, a Jesuit church.

Toledo's cuisine is grouped with that of Castile–La Mancha, well-set in its traditions and closely linked to hunting and grazing. A good number of recipes are the result of a combination of Moorish and Christian influences.

Some of its specialties include lamb roast or stew, cochifrito, alubias con perdiz (beans with partridge) and perdiz estofoda (partridge stew), carcamusa, migas, gachas manchegas, and tortilla a la magra. Two of the city's most famous food productions are Manchego cheese and marzipan, which has a Protected Geographical Indication (mazapán de Toledo).[71][72]


  • Virgen del Valle: This pilgrimage is celebrated on May 1 at the Ermita de la Virgen del Valle, with a concentration popular holiday in that place.
  • Easter: Declared of National Tourist Interest, is held in spring with various processions, highlighting those that take place on Good Friday, and religious and cultural events. Since the Civil War, most of the steps were burned or destroyed, so it had to create new steps or using images from other churches and convents Toledo. Being a city Toledo Castile, Holy Week is characterized as austere and introspective, as well as beauty, due in part to the beautiful framework in which it takes place: Toledo. Many people take advantage of the Easter break to visit the monastery churches that are only open to the general public at this time of year. [42]
  • Corpus Christi: Feast declared International Tourist Interest. Its origins lie in the thirteenth century and is probably the most beautiful Corpus Christi there. The processional cortege travels around two kilometers of streets and richly decorated awnings. In recent years, following the transfer of the traditional holiday Thursday present Sunday, was chosen to conduct two processions, one each of these days, with certain differences in members and protocol between them. [43]
  • Virgen del Sagrario: On August 15 they celebrate the festival in honor of the Virgen del Sagrario. Procession is held inside the Cathedral and drinking water of the Virgin in jars.

Apart from these festivals should be noted that patterns of Toledo are:

  • San Ildefonso, Toledo Visigoth bishop whose feast day is January 23.
  • Santa Leocadia, virgin and martyr of Roman Hispania, which falls on December 9.

Main sights[edit]

UNESCO World Heritage Site
Historic City of Toledo
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
1 toledo spain evening sunset 2014.jpg
Old city of Toledo
Type Cultural
Criteria i, ii, iii, iv
Reference 379
UNESCO region Europe
Inscription history
Inscription 1986 (10th Session)
Alcantara Bridge, Collotype 1889.

The city of Toledo was declared a Historic-Artistic Site in 1940, UNESCO later given the title of World Heritage in 1987. Sights include:

  • Tomb of Saint Beatrice of Silva, founder of the Order of the Immaculate Conception, at the Conceptionist Monastery of Toledo.
  • Castillo de San Servando, medieval castle near the banks of the Tagus river and the Infantry Academy.
  • The Gothic Cathedral, dating from the thirteenth century. Inside there is the Clear from Narciso Tome, in Baroque.
  • Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes, in Elizabethan Gothic style (15th century).
  • The Renaissance Museo-Hospital de Santa Cruz (16th century).
  • El Greco Museum, a house-museum designed as a recreation of the artist's home, which was lost centuries ago. It houses several important paintings.
  • Santa María la Blanca, the oldest synagogue building in Europe still standing, now owned by the Catholic Church.
  • Synagogue of El Transito, in the Jewish Quarter. It is home to the Sephardic Museum.
  • Hospital de Tavera Museum Duque de Lerma. Renaissance style, dates from the sixteenth century. Influenced the layout of El Escorial.
  • Church of Santiago del Arrabal, in Mudéjar style.
  • Iglesia de Santo Tome. Mudejar style, the fourteenth century, houses the famous Burial of Count Orgaz, by El Greco.
  • El Cristo de la Luz, a small mosque-oratory built in 999, later extended with Mudejar apse for conversion into a church.
  • Galiana Palace (13th century), in Mudejar style.
  • Tornerías Mosque (11th century).
  • Alcazar fortress (16th century), located in the highest part of town, overlooking the city. From 2009 it houses the collection of the Army Museum.
  • Puerta de Bisagra Nueva, the main entrance and face of Toledo.
  • Puerta de Bisagra, the main entrance to the city in Andalusian times.
  • Puerta del Sol. Mudejar style and built by the Knights Hospitallers in the fourteenth century.
  • Puerta Bab al-Mardum, the oldest city gate of Toledo.
  • New Gate of Hinge, by Alonso de Covarrubias (16th century, based on Arabic structures).
  • Old door hinge or Puerta de Alfonso VI.
  • Cambrón gate, of Muslim-16th century origin.
  • San Román (Museum of the Councils and Visigoth culture).
  • Ermita del Cristo de la Vega, in Mudéjar style (11th century).
  • Alcántara bridge, Roman bridge across the Tagus.
  • Puente de San Martin, medieval bridge across the Tagus.

To mark the fourth centenary of the publication of the first part of Don Quixote, the Council of Communities of Castile–La Mancha designed a series of routes through the region crossing the various points cited in the novel. Known as the Route of Don Quixote, two of the pathways designated, sections 1 and 8, are based in Toledo; those linking the city with La Mancha Castile and Montes de Toledo exploit the natural route which passes through the Cigarrales and heads to Cobisa, Nambroca Burguillos of Toledo, where it takes the Camino Real from Sevilla to suddenly turn towards Mascaraque Almonacid de Toledo, deep into their surroundings, near Mora, in La Mancha.

This stretch, Mascaraque-Toledo, of the Route of Don Quixote has recently been included in an official way on the Camino de Santiago in Levantine branch with origins in Cartagena, Alicante and Valencia, as both routes are declared a European Cultural Route on this stretch.


Cambrón Gate.

Toledo has long been an obligatory stop in the centre of the peninsula. The roads leading to historic Toledo are still used and in many cases have provided the basis to existing roads leading into the city.


From Toledo part of N-400, which links this city with Cuenca by Ocaña and Tarancón. It is currently in the process of transformation in the future A-40 motorway Castilla La Mancha, which will link Maqueda (where it joins the motorway Extremadura), Toledo, Ocaña (where it attaches to the Motorway of Andalusia), Tarancón (where connects with the motorway Levante), Cuenca and Teruel.

The old National Road 401 Madrid-Toledo-Ciudad Real was transformed in the late 1980s in the current A-42 as a result of splitting and deleting the path that the various crossings counted (Illescas, Yuncos, etc.. ).

The split path can take 7 kilometres (4 miles) south of Toledo, in effect Ciudad Real, where it continues as conventional road. At this point, the A-42 connects with the Highway of the Vineyard that reaches Tomelloso. It is planned to extend the A-42, by a toll road, to Ciudad Real and Jaén.

In the early twenty-first century was built, in order to decongest the access of Madrid, the toll motorway AP-41.

Another way of State Highway Network that Toledo is part of the N-403, Toledo-Maqueda – Ávila – Adanero. Part of the route of this road will be replaced by that of the aforementioned Highway of Castilla La Mancha.

In addition to these roads, from Toledo depart several regional and provincial-level linking the capital with the regions of Montes de Toledo, La Jara and La Mancha.


In the mid-nineteenth century Toledo was one of the first Spanish cities to receive rail service, being attached to the Madrid – Aranjuez line which was inaugurated by Isabella II on June 12 of 1858. The current station is in Neo-Mudéjar style, and was inaugurated on April 24 of 1919. It is a remarkably beautiful building, especially the paneling in the main hall of the same.

With several ups and downs in terms of technical equipment and services this is the line that served the city until the early twenty-first century: on July 2 of 2003 the last conventional train service between the two capitals ended and work began on the high-speed link, Madrid – Toledo, which entered service on November 16 of 2005, thanks to which travel time to Madrid has been reduced to just under 30 minutes.


Hospital of Tavera (built between 1541–1603).

In the early 1960s began the construction of the Residence Health Social Security "Virgen de la Salud". The original building still remains in use, although successive extensions were added (maternity, outpatient clinics, operating rooms, etc.) into the existing complex. The complex was also extended to move the clinic to a new nearby building, now converted into Specialty Centre San Ildefonso.

On October 6, 1974 inaugurated the National Hospital of Paraplegics who becomes the centre of reference, both nationally and internationally, in the treatment of these lesions. Also carries out a major work of social integration of their patients.

The transfer of powers from the state health at the Junta de Comunidades de Castilla La Mancha will give new impetus to the health infrastructure, manifested in 2007 with the commencement of construction of the new General Hospital of Toledo in the Santa Mary Benquerencia. Also have been provided to the different parts of the relevant health centres.

In the Toledo Hospital Complex [36] is also integrated Geriatric Hospital Virgen del Valle, a result of reform and modernization of old tuberculosis hospital built in the mid twentieth century. The centre is located outside the city, near the Parador Nacional de Turismo Conde de Orgaz.

With regard to private health, at present the city of Toledo has several centres: Hospital de las Tres Culturas, Clínica Nuestra Señora del Rosario, and so on.


Toledo suffered from a shortage of sports facilities.[citation needed] Much of this problem was resolved when the Central School of Physical Education of the Army moved its headquarters to the premises of the Academy of Infantry. In the 1990s, the city council took over the old facilities of the military centre, which now include an athletics track, Olympic swimming pool and an indoor sports hall, from the former military installations, and numerous outdoor courts built in the area of the former runway of application, having been demolished and the old gym complex pools (indoor and outdoor).

Besides these facilities, the city of Toledo has covered sports pavilions in the districts of Santa Maria de Benquerencia, Santa Barbara, San Anton (Complejo Deportivo "Leaping Horse"), outdoor pools in sugar, Palomarejos, Santa Maria de Benquerencia, Santa Barbara, Santa Teresa and indoor swimming pools in the gardens of the Alcazar (old town), Santa Maria de Benquerencia and San Antonio.[citation needed]

Toledo has a football team, Club Deportivo Toledo, which is currently[when?] playing in the third-tier Segunda División B.[citation needed] The club plays its matches in the municipal field Leaping Horse, opened in 1973. The team played for 7 seasons in the Segunda División, during which it reached the play-off final for promotion to La Liga at the end of the 1993–94 season, losing 4–1 on aggregate to Real Valladolid. Toledo players have included Abel Resino, Luis Garcia, Rufete and Casquero.

Toledo also has teams of handball.[citation needed] The Toledo Handball, after five years in the Division de Honor B, start the 2009–2010 season as ASOBAL new club for the first time in its history. A refurbished town hall "Javier Lozano Cid ', with capacity for around 1,500 spectators, is its new headquarters. Moreover, the city has two other Division II team in the National, the Toledo Handball Lábaro-B and Club Deportivo Amibal.

Toledo has two basketball teams: the CIS Toledo, with a long history that has gone through ups and downs in both regional and in national leagues (EBA) and has just[when?] promoted to 1st Autonomic, and CB Polígono, currently the most representative, whose team has promoted male, seven years after leaving, to EBA League to start the 2009/10 season.[citation needed] This club based in the Santa Maria de Benquerencia district and has one of the largest quarries of Castilla-La Mancha.

Toledo has been represented in athletics since 2 April 1979 by the Toledo Athletic Club, that is characterised by its actions, mainly in cross-country, where he managed a large number of medals in the championships team Spain's specialty, in addition to their combined male and female military in the late 1990s in the 1st division league national track. Among the athletes who have passed through its lanes are great athletes as Julio Rey, Roberto Parra, Chema Martinez and Julia Lobato.

Cycling, meanwhile, after the victory in the Tour de France in 1959 by Federico Bahamontes, 'The Eagle of Toledo', has been one of the sports with more followers in the city, although, at present,[when?] no school despite having a velodrome in Santa María de Benquerencia.[citation needed] Other leading professional cyclists from the city have been Nemesio Jiménez (Mexico Olympics 1968) and Ángel de las Heras.

The FS and Volleyball Toledo Toledo Association Toledo complete representation in the National League of First and Second Division, after a brief journey in Fantasy, respectively, while the Toledo Rugby Club, with manyfans, is immersed in the League Madrid's Primera Liga.[citation needed]

At the individual level, the swimmer Javier Noriega and Julio Rey marathon athletes are more representative of the city, both in Athens Olympics 2004 and Beijing Olympics 2008, in recent years. Rey, Spanish current marathon record holder, with 2h.06:52, announced his retirement in October 2009.[citation needed]


Various local and provincial newspapers are published in the city. In addition, national newspapers such as the daily ABC publish unique local editions.[citation needed] Among the local newspapers are the subscription-based La Tribuna de Toledo, and Toledo Day, as well as the free Global Castilla la Mancha and Toledo News. The general information weekly magazines Echoes and Here are also published.

There is also local media in television, radio and Internet. The regional public television headquarters, CMT, are in Toledo.[citation needed] In addition, there are several local television stations, as well as local fare: the diocesan Popular TV, Teletoledo, Canal Regional de Noticia and La Tribuna TV.

For radio stations, there is the dean of radio Radio Toledo (Onda Cero), as well as COPE, Cadena SER, RNE, RCM and Radio Aquí, and the local fare Onda Polígono and the diocesan station Radio Santa Maria. Within the digital and social media, Onda Toledo, Toledo Magic, Toledo Digital, and La Cerca.[citation needed]


In popular culture[edit]

Segundo de Chomón filmed a short documentary about this city in 1912, L'antique Tolède (The Old Toledo). This is probably the first film about Toledo.

International relations[edit]

Twin towns — Sister cities[edit]

Toledo is twinned with:

See also[edit]



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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]