Toledo, Spain

Toledo was once the capital of Spain, and today it still stands in grandeur, as it peers down at the valley below from its mountaintop. This fortified city has a long history and remnants of its past can still be seen all around. The small, intimate streets are filled with shops, catering to tourists, and are filled with handcrafted and handmade items. Because of its past, there are many places of cultural worth to visit and admire, and Toledo can boast of its local wines and foods, to tempt all appetites.

Toledo was once a walled city under Roman rule and today the wall can still be seen as it encloses the city. Placed by the bend of the Tagus River, this eclectic city once housed Jews, Muslims, and Christians, somewhat peacefully. From these occupants are left several synagogues, mosques, and churches. Cobblestone streets wind through narrow lanes, and lead to Muslim, Visigoth, and Roman architecture.

The Alcazar Castle, Toledo, SpainWith less than 100,000 people living and working within Toledo, the main industry is tourism. However, another major industry is metalwork. In Toledo, travelers will find magnificent sword makers working at a craft that began in Roman times. Shops display the craftsmanship of world renowned Toledo steel swords, knives, and razor blades. There are also many fine craftsmen who create ceramics and glassware.

Because this glittering city sits atop a mountain, the climate of Toledo can get very hot in the summer, and extremely cold in the winter. If traveling during the summer season, be sure to keep hydrated, and bundle up during the winter. The streets and stone tends to hold in heat, so that even late in the evening, there is still a palpable heat emanating from buildings and roads.

Many people are attracted to the Alcazar, a castle that dates back to the 3rd century. Its imposing walls and towers have been built, destroyed, and built again. Today, it welcomes visitors through its long halls. Another great attraction is the Cathedral of Toledo. Standing since the 1st century, this place of worship was turned into a mosque during the Moor’s reign, but was converted back into a Cathedral under a Christian king. There are many more places to explore and learn about Toledo’s mixed religious past.

When in Spain, the food that comes to mind are tapas. There are a few places in Toledo where late diners can enjoy tapas and local wines. The dishes of Toledo are based heavily from its Muslim and Christian influences, as well as the land around it. The food is hearty and rich, and travelers will find plenty of stews, porridge, and cheeses available. Toledo is also known for mazapan, a sweet treat made from almonds, which is found in abundance around the city.

Toledo, Spain with its rich, historic past is a treasure found on a mountaintop. The streets lined with windows filled with geraniums, the hearty foods that are made with ingredients found on the countryside, the architecture and buildings that reflect Toledo’s history, all come together to make Toledo a wonderful place to visit and fall in love with.


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