Jul 19, 2008

Toledo Tourist Attractions

Casa Y Museo El Greco

Calle de los Alamillos leads to Calle Samuel Leví, in which is the Casa El Greco. It is not certain that El Greco actually lived in this house or died there in 1614; but at any rate it is the only survivor of the houses adjoining the synagogue of El Tránsito, the property of the Marquese de Villena, in one of which El Greco is known to have lived. The building was renovated in 1906 and equipped with furniture and sculpture belonging to El Greco.

On the east side of the Plaza del Ayuntamiento stands the Cathedral, Toledo's principal landmark and the Catedral Primada of Spain. Spain's finest Gothic cathedral after that of Burgos, it was built between 1227 and 1493 on the site of the Moorish Great Mosque, which itself had replaced an earlier Visigothic church. In the 90m/295ft high north tower (1380-1440), from which there are fine views, is the famous bell known as the Campana Gorda, cast in 1753 and weighing 17 tons. The south tower, which was left unfinished, has a Baroque dome.

Museo de santa Cruz

The old Hospital houses the Museo de Santa Cruz. The Archeological section, in the rooms around the patio, contains prehistoric, Roman and Visigothic antiquities. The museum's collection of pictures begins in the three rooms on the ground floor. Particularly notable items are Flemish tapestries of the 15th and 16th centuries and a tapestry with the signs of the Zodiac which was woven for the Cathedral. Among the old masters displayed here are a Flemish portrait of Philibert II of Savoy and a picture by Morales, ''Christ in Chains''. Here too is the standard flown by Don John of Austria in the battle of Lepanto (1571). On the first floor are the museum's most valuable works, including a retablo dedicated to the Virgin with figures by Alonso Berruguete, works by Luis Tristán, a pupil of El Greco's, Ribera and the Master of Sigena, a ''Crucifixion'' by Goya and above all a superb collection of pictures by El Greco, among them his ''Assumption of the Virgin'', a late work. On the first floor there is also the section of applied and decorative art.

Santa Tome
To the west of the Cathedral, on the edge of the old Jewish quarter, the Judería, is the Plaza de Santo Tomé, with the church of Santo Tomé. Originally a mosque, the church was rebuilt by the Count of Orgaz in Gothic style in the 14th century, with a beautiful Mudéjar tower.

Sinagoga del Transito

A short distance away from the Casa y Museo El Greco is the Mudéjar-style Sinagoga del Tránsito, built in 1366 by Samuel ha-Levi, treasurer to Pedro I of Castile. After the expulsion of the Jews in 1492 the synagogue was given to the knightly Order of Calatrava. In the aisleless interior are decorative friezes and Hebrew inscriptions in praize of Jahweh, Samuel ha-Levi and Pedro I, both above and below the magnificent windows with their cusped arches. The ceiling is also very fine.

Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes

Northwest of the Judería is the Franciscan convent of San Juan de los Reyes, founded in 1476 after the victory over the Portuguese in the battle of Toro as the burial-place of the Catholic Monarchs and their descendants but not completed until the 17th century. The church, begun in 1553, has an Isabelline doorway by Covarrubias, and on the outer walls are the chains of Christians freed from Moorish captivity. Notable features of the sumptuous interior (by Juan Guas) are the friezes of the arms of the Catholic Monarchs supported by eagles in the transepts, the vaulting of the choir gallery and the retablo by Felipe Vigarny and Francisco de Comontes. The cloister (1504), to the southeast, is one of the finest achievements of Late Gothic architecture in Spain. The upper gallery has a very decorative artesonado ceiling.

More Information:

Toledo Tourism
Toledo Top Popular Hotels
Toledo Pictures
Toledo Map

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