Note: Please refer to the map of this itinerary, where
all numbered monuments below may be found. Click any of the images for a larger view in a new window.
Starting our walk at the Cathedral, we proceed on the Calle de La Trinidad until we reach the intersection of the streets of EI Salvador, Santo Tome, and Taller del Moro. The old Jewish quarter or Judería begins here, the area once occupied by the Jewish population of Toledo. Backing up to the aforementioned intersection is the Church of EI Salvador, formerly an ancient mosque built in 1041.
Further down is
the Taller del Moro15, or Moor's Workshop, (Calle Taller del
Mora, 3. Tel: 925 227115. Open: 10a.m. to 2p.m. and 4 to 6:30p.m. Closed Monday
and Sunday afternoon) a 16th
century building and now a small museum dedicated to Mudéjar arts and crafts. It
owes its name to its having been used as a workshop for the artisans who sculpted the marble for the Cathedral.
Down and around the corner to the right, forming the same block is the Fuensalida palace, today the headquarters of the presidency of the Communities Council of Castilla-La Mancha, as well as the
Church of Santo Tomé16(Plaza del Conde, 1. Tel: 925
256098. Open: 10a.m. to 1:45p.m. and 3:30 to 5:45p.m. Summer until 6:45p.m.). Originally a 12th century mosque, the church has a magnificent 14th century Mudejar tower with some Visigothic elements on the doorway, but
the church's highlight is undoubtedly the work by Domenico Theotocopuli or El
Greco - "El Entierro del Conde de Orgaz" (The Burial of Count Orgaz), one of the
all time masterpieces of painting, housed in a separate chapel adjoining the
church and whose entrance is on the Paseo del Conde. This is the biggest
painting of the Spanish 16th century (4.8 x 3.6 meters). It represents an
old tradition: when in 1312 don Gonzalo Ruiz de Toledo, count of Orgaz died,
both Saint Esteban and Saint Agustin helped to bury the body inside this church
-owned by the count at the time. The composition has two scenes: one terrestrial
(the lower side of the painting) with the representations of contemporanian
people of El Greco (even his self-portrait and his young son's portrait); and
also another celestial scene, on the upper half of the composition.
Calle de Taller del Moro leads to Paseo del Transito, an avenue with one of the few garden areas in the city. We turn right on to the Calle de Samuel Levi and come to the
EI Greco House-Museum17(Calle de Samuel Levi, 3. Tel: 925 22
40 46. Fax 925 22 45 59. Open: 10a.m. to 2p.m. and 4 to 6p.m. Closed Monday and
Sunday afternoon), an elegant and spacious edifice with special attention given to details and furnishings of the period of EI Greco,
including works such as Apostolado—“The Apostolate”, Vista y Plano de
Toledo—“View of Toledo", and Las Lágrimas de San Pedro—"The Tears of St. Peter”.
The museum also has works by Luis Tristán, Murillo, Valdés Leal and other
A short distance away from the EI Greco's House-Museum and on the same street of Calle de Samuel Levi is
EI Transito Synagogue18(Calle de Samuel Levi. Tel: 925 22 36
65. Fax 925 215831. Open: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. Closed Monday and
Sunday afternoon), also a Sephardic museum. Built around 1357, and founded by
Samuel Levi, Treasurer to King Pedro I, it contains the finest Mudejar coffered ceiling of all Toledo and walls decorated with plaster tracery, some with Hebrew inscriptions, and the shield of Castille encased in intertwining stems, flowers and leaves. The museum exhibits various Sephardic pieces, the majority of them related to worship. Proceeding down the Calle de los Reyes Católicos, a continuation of Calle de Samuel Levi, and to the left of Plaza de Barrio Nuevo is a small side street leading to the recently reopened
Victorio Macho House-Museum. It is located on the cliff called Roca Tarpeya where criminals were hurled off centuries ago.
little further along, we find the Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca19(Calle
de los Reyes Católicos, 2. Tel: 925 22 72 57. Open: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3:30
to 6 p.m. Summer until 7 p.m.), built in the 12th century, and converted into a
Christian church in the 15th. It is also characteristic of the Mudejar style in Toledo,
with a central nave and double aisles sloping towards the exterior, plaster tracery and horseshoe arches.
A little ahead on the left, behind the School of Applied Arts and Crafts, rises the imposing
Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes20(Calle Reyes Católicos,
21. Tel: 925 22 38 02. Open: 10 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. and 3:30 to 6 p.m. Summer
until 7 p.m.), the masterpiece of Juan Guas. It is a typical example of Flamboyant Gothic architecture and the last great building of this style in Toledo. Its construction was ordered by the Catholic Monarchs. Notable in the interior are the church, with its superb decoration, and the cloister, with its lovely carvings in stone. Our attention is also drawn to the chains hanging from the exterior walls, shackles of the Christians freed from slavery in the
wars with the Moors.
After leaving the monastery and continuing along the Calle de los Reyes
Católicos, to our left we come to the Calle de los Alamillos de San Martin which takes us to the
Bridge of San Martin21; built in the 13th
century, it is one of the few
that preserves its twin
towers. Going down the banks of the river and following the direction of the current, we come to the Baño de
la Cava, a solitary tower that used to be the entrance to a bridge built in the 12th century.
Returning to the Plaza de San Martin, we take the Paseo de la Ronda Nueva along the walls to reach the
Puerta del Cambrón22, originally a gate from Visigothic times, although its present aspect
dates from 1576. The Renaissance façades on either side display coats of arms,
the city’s motifs on the outer façade and Felipe II’s on the inner. It is the
only city gate open to motorised traffic. Its name takes after the "cambronera",
a kind of buckthorn that once grew on one of its towers.
Leaving the walled area behind and
zig-zagging down a path and crossing the road at the pedestrian bridge, we come
to Cristo de la Vega23, a Mudejar hermitage situated next to the archeological remains of the basilica of
Santa Leocadia, a burial place for a large number of Visigothic kings.
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