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Toledo: the City of Three Cultures

Departing from Madrid-Atocha, visitors arrive at Toledo Station, a neo-Mudejar building that has been granted National Heritage status since its construction. The beautiful plasterwork, tiling, marquetry and ironwork… make it one of the most unique stations in Spain. From here, we hop on the Tourist Bus that offers a panoramic tour to help us understand the idiosyncrasy and location of the city of three cultures that has had “World Heritage” status since 1986. We can also take photos of the historical centre, the Tagus River that runs around the city, the country houses on the banks that form a natural protection for the city, the historical bridges of Alcántara and San Martín and the set of Mudejar Towers…….

Our tour ends at the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes, a Gothic-Mudejar Franciscan monastery from the 15th century. Commissioned by Queen Isabel the Catholic to commemorate the battle of Toro in 1476, the church, high altarpiece and cloister are particular highlights.

All over the city there are signs of its rich craftsmanship, damascene work, ceramics, wood, leather and its game meat culinary heritage of –venison and partridge from the hills of Toledo, as well as its famous marzipan that can be purchased in different shops and cloistered convents.

What to see

The tourist bus lets us off in Plaza de Zocodover, a meeting point for locals, and from here we can visit the Museum of Santa Cruz, with a collection showing the history of the city from prehistoric times to 20th-century contemporary art. Just a few metres away is the Alcázar Citadel, which was a fortress for centuries and is currently the National Museum of the Army with a collection of historical hand weapons, swords and armour.… From here, we can head to the Town Hall square with the architectural treasures of the Archbishop's Palace, the Town Hall, the Courthouse and the marvellous façade of the Cathedral, where we can marvel at one of the most wonderful spaces in the city, including the Vestry, Chapter Hall, Choir and Treasury, as well as the magnificent Baroque 'Transparente' altarpiece, the cloister and the tower with its famous 'fat bell'.

All of the narrow streets lead to the Jewish Quarter, and the first monument we come across is the former Mosque of El Salvador which, alongside those of Cristo de la Luz and Tornerías, is a legacy from the Hispanic-Islamic period.

The area also offers us the chance to see the masterpiece by the Cretan painter who lived in Toledo, Doménikos Theotokópoulos, El Greco: “The Burial of the Count of Orgaz”, located in the Church of Santo Tomé and displaying Toledo society in the 17th century. Other works by the artist and his disciples can be seen at the El Greco Museum located on Paseo del Tránsito. Just a few metres along is the El Tránsito Synagogue-Sephardic Museum, where the large prayer hall and women's gallery are decorated with Mudejar plasterwork and a coffered ceiling. The Museum of Jewish History in Spain houses Sephardic religious items.

Continuing our tour of the Jewish Quarter, we reach the Synagogue of Santa María La Blanca, a synagogue from the early 13th century with five naves separated by horseshoe arches with plasterwork and octagonal pillars with wasps' nest capitals.

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APP +Toledo

Choose your favourite route to stroll the streets of Toledo. Each route includes a brief description, the topic, the locations covered, total distance and the estimated time it takes.

Download the App + Toledo and get information on the city's culture and heritage, as well as general information about Toledo.

Tourist Information Offices

  • AVE Station. Paseo de la Rosa, s/n. - 45006 Toledo
  • Tel.: 925 239 121
  • Opening times: 9:30 am to 5:30 pm (continuously)

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