Photos of Toledo in Spain - World Heritage Site

View of Toledo, Spain looking across the Tagus River

The Tagus River forms a natural moat around much of Toledo.
The Tagus River forms a natural moat around much of Toledo. | Source

Historic and beautiful Toledo


In July of 1992, my husband and I decided to take a one day tour of Toledo out of Madrid, Spain where we were vacationing.

Pictures of our tour accompany this article so that you can get a glimpse of what we got to enjoy that day spent in Toledo, a World Heritage Site.

Having a guide is always helpful when visiting a new location and all I can say is that if you ever get the chance, put Toledo high up on your list of places to visit.

One day gave us a distinctive flavor of the historic significance of Toledo, but it would have been wonderful to have had more time to explore more of its many endless wonders and experience more of its history by delving into its spirited past.

And an interesting past Toledo has definitely had!


Images of Toledo, Spain

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Walking through the cobblestoned streets of Toledo following our guide.The streets are labeled on the corners of buildings/The streets are narrow and twist and turn in every direction.People and vehicles share these narrow streets.We catch a glimpse of the Cathedral.
Walking through the cobblestoned streets of Toledo following our guide.
Walking through the cobblestoned streets of Toledo following our guide. | Source
The streets are labeled on the corners of buildings/
The streets are labeled on the corners of buildings/ | Source
The streets are narrow and twist and turn in every direction.
The streets are narrow and twist and turn in every direction. | Source
People and vehicles share these narrow streets.
People and vehicles share these narrow streets. | Source
We catch a glimpse of the Cathedral.
We catch a glimpse of the Cathedral. | Source

Images of Toledo, Spain

The Ayuntamiento or City Hall was built in the 16th century.
The Ayuntamiento or City Hall was built in the 16th century. | Source
Some modern buildings in Toledo.  Still built close together on those narrow and twisting cobble-stoned streets.
Some modern buildings in Toledo. Still built close together on those narrow and twisting cobble-stoned streets. | Source
Many flowerboxes on these modern balconies.
Many flowerboxes on these modern balconies. | Source
Tiled rooftops.
Tiled rooftops. | Source
Oleanders in full bloom
Oleanders in full bloom | Source

With camera in hand...


After traveling through the countryside of Spain by bus, we approached Toledo which is located just 70 kilometers south of Madrid.


Toledo is surrounded on almost three sides by the Tagus River which forms a natural moat.


Dating back many centuries, Toledo is an historic and walled city and has gone through many occupations of conquerors. Not only is its history redolent with tales of various occupiers but its architecture speaks to those many influences which can enjoyed as well.


Christian, Jewish and Moorish designs have all had their impact and often buildings changed hands and were continued to be built upon with many of the past influences left in place.


Like the city of Rome, Toledo was built on 7 hills. It was the first capital of Spain.


The land mass inside the walls is only 89.59 square miles or 232.1 kilometers. Most all of the historic buildings which included places of worship ( of which there are many! ) and the royal residence, etc. were inside the walls.


Outside of the walls were many private gardens and summer residences and today the suburbs can continue to spread in that fashion.


In 1986 UNESCO declared Toledo to be a World Heritage Site.


Part of the reason is that for many years, the three cultures shared their lives and lived peaceably with each other overcoming racial differences and working together for the common good of everyone concerned.


Through the centuries there were fires destroying some of the buildings but most were rebuilt and refurbished.


Today, the newer buildings are built to blend in with the old and maintain a certain character of the ancient Toledo.


Tourism is a big part of their industry as one might imagine.


Few places like this exist in the world and by visiting places like this we can get a glimpse into the past.

A short look inside the cavernous Cathedral of Toledo

Cathedral of Toledo

The Gothic spire of the Cathedral in Toledo
The Gothic spire of the Cathedral in Toledo | Source

Toledo Cathedral

The Cathedral is one of the towering edifices in Toledo and is definitely a tourist attraction worth visiting for anyone visiting that area.

Originally an old Visigoth church was on that site and built on top of that was the largest Moorish mosque in Toledo. In the year 1086 it was converted into a Christian church.

Taking two and a half centuries to build, one can realize the different artistic expressions that were manifested during that long time construction process.

The church was built in increments and two unequal sized towers are the result. It is difficult to see the full majesty of the structure from any one vantage point.

Below are some exterior shots of the Toledo Cathedral that I took while on the tour...

Various images of the Cathedral of Toledo

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Shorter tower of the CathedralChains of Christian captives hang outside of the church.  Many young couples choose to be married here thinking that the chains of the freed captives will bring them good luck.The clock door of the cathedral.Close-up above the clock door.
Shorter tower of the Cathedral
Shorter tower of the Cathedral | Source
Chains of Christian captives hang outside of the church.  Many young couples choose to be married here thinking that the chains of the freed captives will bring them good luck.
Chains of Christian captives hang outside of the church. Many young couples choose to be married here thinking that the chains of the freed captives will bring them good luck. | Source
The clock door of the cathedral.
The clock door of the cathedral. | Source
Close-up above the clock door.
Close-up above the clock door. | Source

St. John of the King's Cloister in Toledo

St. John of the King's Cloister
St. John of the King's Cloister | Source

The Catholic Church

The greatest majority of monuments in Toledo attracting tourists from far and wide are religious in nature. The Catholic Church has played a significant role in making Toledo a Holy City only second to the influence of The Vatican in Rome.


Concentrated wealth in bygone eras helped create this proliferation of churches, monasteries, religious schools, convents, chapels and other buildings.


Even after the capitol of Spain was moved from Toledo to Madrid, ecclesiastical power remained in Toledo for a long time.


Artists like El Greco and others were attracted to living and working in these environs. There are a huge number of El Greco's paintings that still reside in Toledo today.


In fact, the entire city of Toledo is like a gigantic museum. Art, architectural wonders and medieval influences like the cobblestones, walls and gates of this city could keep one engaged in discoveries for a good while.

Rick Steves talking about the artist El Greco

Museum of Taverna in Toledo, Spain

Museum of Taverna. Used to be a hospital. Ancient records are kept in beautifully hand written centuries old books. Wonderful collection of paintings. One wing is still utilized as a school run by nuns.
Museum of Taverna. Used to be a hospital. Ancient records are kept in beautifully hand written centuries old books. Wonderful collection of paintings. One wing is still utilized as a school run by nuns. | Source

Toledo by Rick Steves

Images of Toledo, Spain

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Walking the cobblestoned streets of ToledoThe Alcazar viewed from a distance.  Renaissance styling.  Destroyed and rebuilt many times it has served many purposes throughout the years...from royal palace to prison to military academy to museum and library.View of a portion of Toledo as seen from across the river.  Another view of the Tagus River forming a natural barrier around Toledo.Three photos pieced together showing a good view of Toledo as seen from a distance.  My husband with Toledo in the background.
Walking the cobblestoned streets of Toledo
Walking the cobblestoned streets of Toledo | Source
The Alcazar viewed from a distance.  Renaissance styling.  Destroyed and rebuilt many times it has served many purposes throughout the years...from royal palace to prison to military academy to museum and library.
The Alcazar viewed from a distance. Renaissance styling. Destroyed and rebuilt many times it has served many purposes throughout the years...from royal palace to prison to military academy to museum and library. | Source
View of a portion of Toledo as seen from across the river.
View of a portion of Toledo as seen from across the river. | Source
Another view of the Tagus River forming a natural barrier around Toledo.
Another view of the Tagus River forming a natural barrier around Toledo. | Source
Three photos pieced together showing a good view of Toledo as seen from a distance.
Three photos pieced together showing a good view of Toledo as seen from a distance. | Source
My husband with Toledo in the background.
My husband with Toledo in the background. | Source

Toledo, Spain

A one day tour such as we had was a wonderful introduction to this most interesting of ancient cities. I envied the people that stayed there a little longer to roam the twisting streets and make additional discoveries while they soaked up the atmosphere. But alas, we had other plans and more ventures to undertake in Spain, some of which is shared in other posts.

Hope this gives you a snapshot of what there is to see and do while in Toledo, Spain. We merely scratched the surface!

These pictures comprise a cherished souvenir of our visit there.

Rick Steves Snapshot Madrid & Toledo
Rick Steves Snapshot Madrid & Toledo

I am so glad that we took one day when in Madrid to go tour Toledo. I would heartily recommend it!

 
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Toledo, Spain
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One couple's slideshow of visiting Toledo

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5 out of 5 stars from 3 ratings of Toledo, Spain

© 2009 Peggy Woods

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Comments 52 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi thedigger,

Yes, travel is fun and educational as well. Thanks for commenting on this Toledo, Spain hub. Have you visited there or is it on your wish list?


thedigger profile image

thedigger 4 years ago from New Delhi

Beautiful pictures. I love travel and don't want to miss any destination. You commented on my hub so I returned back to check whether any interesting thing for me in your profile or not and found lots of travel related hubs.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Vinaya,

Nice to know from your comment that you enjoyed this virtual tour of the historic city of Toledo, Spain. Thanks!


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

Thanks for this comprehensive introduction to Toledo.

I enjoyed the virtual tour.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi alocsin,

It would be wonderful to be able to spend a few days in Toledo, Spain getting to see all of the historic buildings, art, etc. and just taking the time to soak up the ambiance as one strolls through those ancient streets. Glad you liked this. Thanks for your comment.


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