There are some cities that are spoken of with their history and culture. Some cities are alive; they bring life. In this news, we will talk about one of these cities, Toledo, in Spain. We continue our series on Islamic cities with Toledo.
The Light of Spain: Toledo
Toledo is situated in Central Spain, quite close to Madrid, and it is the capital of the Castilla-La Mancha region. The city is surrounded by the Tagus River. Toledo’s history dates back to ancient times. It was under the Greek Empire and later came under the rule of the Roman Empire. It served as the capital of Spain before Madrid.
A city that hosts Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities, it can truly be called the cultural capital of Spain. With its historical and cultural sites, Toledo not only sheds light on the past but also on the present. It can be considered as Spain’s shining light.
Names Remembered in History
During the Roman era, the city was known as “Toletum.” After the Muslim Arab conquest in the eighth century AD, the city’s name became “Tuleytula” in Arabic and was recognized by other Muslim nations. Today, the city is known as Toledo.
The Birthplace of Cervantes
The famous writer Cervantes was born and lived here. He even wrote his novel “Don Quixote” in this city. Besides its historical and cultural aspects, Toledo is also rich in literature.
Toledo’s History and Culture
Although Toledo may not be as well-known as Andalusian Spain, it holds an important place in European history as a city from the Middle Ages. It is considered the city that best represents Spain with its cultural features. That’s why it’s recognized as a national monument. The city’s most important feature is its diverse fabric formed by the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish communities that lived here throughout history. Additionally, the fact that the structures reflecting their cultural identities have survived without significant damage to the 21st century is a remarkable characteristic of the city. From this, we understand that Toledo is a living city that embraces its history and keeps it alive. Its streets are generally steep and narrow. While strolling through these streets, you can feel the scent of history deep within. Moreover, as you walk through the streets of Toledo, you’ll witness stone houses, steel, and various swords. Even if you don’t have much knowledge about Toledo’s history, these structures will surely teach you something.
Places to Visit in UNESCO World Heritage Toledo
Walls, squares, stone bridges, castles, narrow streets, mosques… All of these belong to Toledo, Spain’s former capital, in other words, the cultural capital of the country, and they all are part of the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Due to its rugged terrain, most of the narrow and winding streets, many of which are uphill, converge at Zocodover Square. The gates from different periods have not suffered much damage. Tourists use this area as a gathering and resting place. Babü’l-Merdüm and Las Toernerias mosques, Santa Maria la Blanca synagogue, Ceisto de la Vega, Santiago del Arrabal churches are important structures reflecting the Islamic influence in the city. Various museums housing the works of renowned painters such as El Greco, Anthony van Dyck, Luis de Morales, and others in some of these churches are places worth visiting.
Toledo is especially famous for its steel, especially its swords. There are workshops producing metal goods in the city, along with a large factory. Alcazar, which is now used as a military museum, is one of the city’s most important places. This building, which has been used for different purposes in ancient times, is situated in a high part of the city. With its impressive architecture, it is one of the most attractive structures for tourists. You can add this place to your list of places to visit as well.