History & heritage of Toledo
Toledo is a must for art-lovers. The city of Toledo is rich in aesthetic details, and displays a valuable heritage of art and buildings; there are over a hundred monuments, while traces of art from all cultures and ages are to be found in the many streets and squares of the town. The three cultures that lived together in Toledo, Christians, Arabs and Jews, enabled the city to reach its cultural peak in the Middle Ages, whilst countless people have left their mark on Toledo throughout the intervening centuries. 'El Greco', the creator of the magnificent 'Burial of the Lord of Orgaz', stands out among its many illustrious artists.
Festivals and traditions in Toledo
In Toledo in spring, the "Semana Santa" (Holy Week), which has been declared a nationally important event for tourism, sees the ornate floats of the religious processions carried on the shoulders of their brotherhoods through the austere streets of Toledo in a spectacular silent night-time event, illuminated by candles. The city has for centuries celebrated the religious Feast of Corpus Christi, which has also been declared a internationally important event for tourism, and is the splendour of Toledo's "Semana Grande" (High Week). The streets are shaded with canopies, carpeted with thyme, rosemary and lavender, while the façades of the houses are draped with tapestries and flowers, and all is the setting for the main religious procession of which the high point is the XVI century Monstrance created by Enrique de Arfe. These are the ideal days to visit Toledo's traditional patios.
In addition to these events, there are others that stand out, such as the “European Conference on Jewish Culture” in early September, and music festivals such as the “Toledo International Jazz Festival” and the “Organ Music International Festival” in autumn.
Gastronomy in Toledo
The culture of Toledo is also reflected in its gastronomy; Toledan cuisine embodies noble and aristocratic tastes, amongst which stand out its game dishes such as venison stews, partridge 'a la toledana', as well as "carcamusas", the popular meaty stew. Alongside this traditional fare comes the local produce: pure Manchegan goats' cheese, and marzipan, whose mouth-watering recipe was first introduced by the Arabs, and has a reputation zealously guarded since medieval times.
Shopping & leisure in Toledo
Toledo still retains its heritage of ancient craft guilds, with an immensely rich display of craftwork (damascene, swords, wrought iron, embroidery, ceramics and artistic glasswork), together with an extensive and up-to-the-minute range of ultramodern shops. The city has thus become one of the favourite shopping destinations for the international visitor. When the sun goes down, the magical night-time atmosphere of Toledo is to be found in all corners, from the classiest 'copas' bars to the funkiest nightspots.
Conferences in Toledo
Toledo is at the forefront of Spanish cities when it comes to hosting conventions, conferences and similar events; this can be attributed to the international renown of the city's character, its accessibility and the growth in its infrastructure, “Toletvm” Visitors Reception Centre or “El Miradero” Conference Centre of
Toledo). There are some surprising and unusual venues for events, such as monasteries, Arab and Renaissance palaces, famous wine-cellars, the unique "cigarrales" (country mansions), and internationally famed restaurants. Luxury hotels of the major international chains, set in historic and modern surroundings, are found alongside smaller hotels that are full of charm.
To reach the Toledo there are high-speed trains (AVE) that link Madrid (Puerta de Atocha Station) with Toledo in 30 minutes. Frequent direct bus services run every day between Madrid and Toledo, taking less than an hour. You can get to Toledo in just 50 minutes by motorway (AP-41) from Madrid Barajas International Airport, or in less than one hour from the new Ciudad Real Central Airport.
The Sephardic route Toledo: There is documentary evidence of the presence of Jews in Toledo since Roman times, in the 4th century, but their arrival much earlier is linked to the legendary foundation of the city. This was the Toletum of the Carpetans and Romans; the civitas regia capital of the Spanish Visigoth Kingdom; the Muslim Toleitola that was such an example of peaceful coexistence between the three cultures; the Toledo of Alfonso X the Wise and the School of Translators; the city of El Greco and the leading Episcopal Cathedral of Spain. But this Castilian city was also the great Jewry of the West, a spiritual centre that, for centuries, was a reference for all the Jews of Europe. Read more: Click HERE >>>