Toledo, Spain

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Medieval Toledo! I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I was actually surprised by this little town!

Toledo is about 30 miles outside of Madrid. You’ll see a lot of advertisements for it in Madrid. If you get a chance to visit, I definitely suggest doing it! We headed off to Toledo right after visiting the Palacio Real de Madrid. To say we did a lot of walking that day is an understatement!

This little town sits on a hill surrounded by a river with bridges creating access to it. It really has a medieval feel to it, but with a twist! It is known as the the city “of three cultures” because of its influence from medieval Arab, Jewish and Christianity. This walled old city still has its ancient synagogues, mosque, and churches.

Sword Making

Can you really call a town medieval if you don’t make swords?

We started off our tour of Toledo by visiting a shop where they make swords and knives. They showed us a brief demonstration on how they they heat up the medal and mold it to the appropriate shape. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to see the conclusion of the sword because they are not allowed to that in the shop. Regardless, it was pretty cool seeing the steel heat up so much it turned bright red!

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The demonstration of forming the iron
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All the different tools they use
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How pretty are these swords?!?

Everything they made in there was hand-made by masters and students. They amount of detail they include is impeccable! I actually got a friend of mine a knife (the sword wouldn’t have fit in my bag :() I’d like to note that the knife was not sharpened. It is illegal to carry weapons in Spain. But it wasn’t a problem, it was beautiful and that’s all that matters!

From there we headed towards the center of Toledo. I was not looking forward to climbing all those stairs. Thankfully, Toledo installed an escalator to aid in tourism and I have never been happier to see a set of escalators in my life!

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Doesn’t this remind you of a castle?!?

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All the roads looked like this!

Sinagoga Santa María la Blanca

The Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca is a museum and former synagogue in Toledo, Spain. Erected in 1180, according to an inscription on a beam, it is disputably considered the oldest synagogue building in Europe still standing. It is now owned and preserved by the Catholic Church.

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Sign outside of the synagogue
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The detailing on the columns were so beautiful!

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We were in the ancient Jewish Quarter of Toledo

As you can see, there is a lot of different influences in Toledo. It’s amazing to know that so many people of different backgrounds and religions were able to live harmoniously here and that their culture still stands today.

Catedral Primada Santa María de Toledo

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Our main attraction of Toledo was this cathedral. Catedral Pimada Santa Maria is a Roman Catholic church and seat of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Toledo.

Ladies, be forewarned. They hold tradition very seriously. Therefore, pay attention to what you wear. Since this is an active cathedral, they do not allow ladies to come in if their shoulders are showing. So bring a cover-up or wear a shirt with sleeves! *My shirt passed, so just be careful with strapless or tank tops/spaghetti straps*

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This entrance is kept closed, unless royalty comes
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So much stained glass!
Photo: Jodi Bills
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The effects inside the church were stunning!
Photo: Jodi Bills
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This is just a fraction of all the beauty in this church!
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Eucharistic Tower, sister to Corpus Christi in Texas! 
Photo: Jodi Bills
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Check out the detailing! And yes, it’s real gold….
Photo: Jodi Bills
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This place was huge! 
Photo: Jodi Bills
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Beautiful artwork everywhere you looked!

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They have weekly masses in this church. there was one going on while we were on our tour!

I’m so glad I booked the extra excursion to Toledo! I think it was a real treat! It also came recommended from a friend (even though I had already booked it. Lol). Although these small towns are growing in popularity, it’s nice to see that they still hold their charm!

What did you think of this little town on a hill?

Next we’re off to Barcelona and the beach town of Sitges!

XO,

Mayra

 

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