Guide to Toledo, one of Spain's great cities.
Spanish Cities - Toledo Castilla-La Mancha
Toledo Spain: One of the most historic and charismatic cities in Spain, Toledo centres on its old town, clustered on a rocky hill, in a loop of the River Tagus. Located in the region of Castilla-La Mancha, the present day city has a population of around 80,000 and a history stretching back into the mists of time.
Already a town when the Romans invaded the Iberian Peninsular, it was named Toletum by the Romans who captured it in 192 BC. As the Roman Empire fell into decline, the Visigoths arrived in Toledo (6th century) and soon made it their capital (replacing Seville), after which it became the religious centre of the Visigothic kingdom.
Constant feuds between Visigoth leaders left the city weak at the time of the Moorish invasion of Spain in the 8th century, this weakness was taken advantage of as the Arabs gained control with relatively little effort as they swept on north to other goals.
Under the Moors Toledo grew even more important and it became the capital of an independent taifa following the demise of the caliphate of Cordoba in the early part of the 11th century.
Toledo was the place of an early victory for the Reconquest as Alfonso VI marched his troops into the city in 1085, returning it to Christianity long before much of Spain. Shortly afterwards Toledo became the seat of the Catholic Church in Spain, a position it has enjoyed right up to the present day.
The city could have been even more significant had Charles I has his way in the 16th century, but a revolt against him ended his dream to make Toledo, Spain’s capital city, an honour which of course went to Madrid in the reign of his successor Felipe II.
A site of many conflicts over the centuries, Toledo was not spared even in the 20th century as it became the scene of a siege during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), as Nationalists dug in against Franco’s Republicans, eventually winning the day after being reinforced and slowing down Franco’s advance.
A major tourist destination today, especially for day trippers, Toledo is easily reached from Madrid, but if you are planning a visit, try to aim for a slightly longer stay, if you want to see all that the city has to offer.
Attractions in Toledo are many and varied, though concentrated in the old town around the 13th century cathedral. Built on an earlier 7th century church, this massive structure took almost 300 years to complete. Other ‘must visit’ locations in Toledo include the Alcazar, the fortified palace of Charles V, the Iglesia de Santo Tomas, a 14th century church build by Count Orgaz and now housing the El Greco painting that was created in his honour, the Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes (15th century), the Museo de Santa Cruz, with many works by Greco, and housed in a former 16th century hospital, and the Puerta Antigua de Bisagra, the 11th century gate through which the conquering Alfonso VI marched with the legendary El Cid at his side in 1085.
Toledo Hotels: Toledo has a large choice of hotels for your stay in the city, a necessary luxury if you wish to get the most from your visit. You can book Toledo hotels at the cheapest rates using the search box on the left.
Featured Toledo Hotels:
Hotel Alfonso VI - Address: Calle General Moscardó, 2, 45001 Toledo, Spain. Telephone Number: (0034) 925 222 600.
Hotel Carlos V - Address: Calle Trastamara, 1, 45001 Toledo, Spain. Telephone Number: (0034) 925 222 100.
Hotel Toledo Imperial - Address: Calle del Horno de los Bizcochos, 5, 45001 Toledo, España. Telephone Number: (0034) 925 280 034.
Toledo can be reached from the A-40 or A-42, it is located to the south-west of Spain's capital Madrid.
Toledo Info: Toledo Map
Castillo-La Mancha Hotels: TRH Almagro