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View of Toledo, Spain
The city of Toledo as seen from across the Tagus River.

Toledo, also known as the Imperial City, is located 44 miles southwest of Madrid and is one of the most visited sites in Spain. Partially surrounded by the Río Tajo (Tagus River), the city has a population of 75,578 (2005). In 1986, Toledo was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Toledo was well established before it was conquered by the Romans in 192 BC. Roman Toletum was the provincial capital of Carpetania. Later the city served as capital of the Visigothic kingdom from the middle of the 6th century until it was captured by the Moors in 712. Under Muslim rule, Toledo attained cultural and economic preeminence. In 1085, Alfonso VI reconquered the city from the Moors and shortly after Toledo became the capital of Castile. Christian, Muslim, and Jewish cultures blended in medieval Toledo making it a model of co-existence, and aided in the transmission of classical learning to western Europe. During the 16th century Toledo was the capital of united Spain, but in 1561 Felipe II moved the court to Madrid and the city began to decline. The city was a battleground during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14), the Peninsular War (1808-14), and the Spanish Civil War (1936) when the Alcázar was defended by the Nationalist forces.

The old city is a maze of narrow streets built on steep bluffs above the river and dominated by the Alcázar (fortress). The city's principal attractions are the Gothic cathedral, the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes, and the Alcázar. Also of historic significance are several medieval churches, mosques and synagogues, two bridges over the Tagus River (Alcántara and San Martín), a variety of fortified gateways from the 10th to 16th centuries, and the city's medieval walls. Its museums and churches contain paintings by El Greco, Velázquez, Murillo, and other Spanish masters. Present as well is the Moorish architecture of the Mudéjar style characterized by the use of brick as the main construction material.

The Alcázar.
The Alcázar fortress stands on the highest point of the city dominating all other buildings. Its origins can be traced back to the 3rd century AC when it was a Roman palace. In 1535 the Alcázar was restored, and it served as the Royal Palace of Emperor Carlos V and later his son Felipe II for some time until the court was moved to Madrid in 1561. In 1936, at the start of the Spanish Civil War, Toledo was besieged by the Republican forces that demolished the Alcázar with artillery in a failed attempt to force the Nationalist defenders to surrender. The building was later reconstructed in the 1950s. Today the Alcázar houses the Regional Library and the new Army Museum (Museo del Ejército) that opened its doors on July 20, 2010.

Visiting Times:
October-May: From 10:00 am. to 19:00 pm.
June-September: From 10:00 am. to 21:00 pm.
Mondays closed.

Entrance fees: 5.00 Euros.
Sunday: Free entrance.

Phone: (+34) 925 238800
Fax (+34) 925-238915

Website: Museo del Ejército

The Cathedral.
The construction of Toledo's Gothic Cathedral began in 1226, over the remains of what had once been a great Moorish mosque, and ended in 1493 (the year after Columbus discovered America). Of particular interest is the sacristy that includes paintings by El Greco (El Expolio), Lucas Jordán, Juan de Borgoña, Van Dyck, Tristán, Goya, to name a few.

Visiting Times:
Monday-Saturday: From 10:00 am to 18:30 pm.
Sundays: From 14:00 pm to 18:30 pm.

Entrance fees: 6 Euros.

Phone: (+34) 925 22 22 41
Fax: (+34) 925 25 34 00

The Church of Santo Tomé.
This church with a beautiful Mudéjar tower dates from the 14th century. Inside is one of El Greco's most famous paintings, The Burial of Count Orgaz from 1588.

Visiting Times:
Monday-Sunday: From 10:00 am to 18:00 pm.

Entrance fees: 1.90 Euros.

Phone: (+34) 925 25 60 98
Fax: (+34) 925 25 12 32

Local Arts and Crafts.
Ever since the days of the Romans, Toledo has been very famous for making swords. If all the swords and armor suits of Toledo could be put together, there will be enough to equip a whole army of knights. Toledo's steel (Acero Toledano) is known all over the world and local manufacturers produce sabres for armies of different countries. Also available are excellent replicas of famous swords such as that of El Cid (Tizona), Excalibur, Lord of the Rings, Conan, etc.

Visiting Toledo. How to get to Toledo.

The easiest and fastest way to get to Toledo from Madrid is by train from Atocha station. It takes just 30 minutes for the AVE (High Speed Train) to arrive at Toledo, and a return ticket costs 13.75 Euros. Toledo's train station (Paseo de la Rosa s/n) is only a five minute walk away from the Puente de Alcántara.

The best place to begin an exploration of the city on foot is the triangular Plaza de Zocodover that is Toledo's most important square and a popular meeting point.

Tourist Information Office
Puerta de Bisagra, s/n.
Phone: (+34) 925 22 08 43
Fax: (+34) 925 25 26 48.

If you visit Toledo during the summer season be careful with the heat. If you thought it was hot in Madrid, Toledo is even hotter. Temperatures above 100º are to be expected.

Photos of Toledo.

Alcázar of Toledo
Bridge of Alcántara
Puente de Alcántara
Bridge of Alcántara at Night
Plaza de Zocodover Toledo
Toledo Cathedral

Toledo Accommodation, Lodging, Hotels, and Hostels. Where to Sleep.

Palacio Eugenia de Montijo ***** - Plaza del Juego de la Pelota, 7. - 200 meters from Cathedral.

Parador de Toledo **** - Cerro del Emperador s/n. - Excellent views of Toledo from across the Tagus.

Hotel Alfonso VI **** - Calle General Moscardó, 2. - In front of the Alcázar.

Hotel San Juan de los Reyes **** - Reyes Católicos, 5. - Near Sinagoga del Tránsito.

Hotel Pintor El Greco *** - Alamillos del Tránsito, 13. - Near El Greco House & Museum.

Hotel Abaceria *** - Calle Pontezuelas, 8. - At "Los Cigarrales" green zone accross the Tagus.

Hotel Abad Toledo *** - Calle Real del Arrabal, 1. - Near Puerta de Bisagra.

Hotel Carlos V *** - Calle Trastamara, 1. - Near the Alcázar.

Hotel Cigarral de Caravantes *** - Carretera de Circunvalación, 2. - Across the Tagus.

Hostal del Cardenal *** - Paseo de Recaredo, 24. - Near Puerta de Bisagra.

Hotel Las Conchas *** - Calle Juan Labrador, 8. - Between the Alcázar and the Cathedral.

Hotel Eurico *** - Calle Santa Isabel, 3. - Near the Cathedral.

Hotel Toledo Imperial *** - Calle Horno de los Bizcochos, 5. - In front of the Alcázar.

Hotel Medina de Toledo *** - Bajada de los Desamparados, 2. - Barrio Antequeruela.

Hotel Santa Isabel ** - Calle Santa Isabel, 24. - Near the Cathedral.

Hotel Maravilla ** - Plaza Barrio Rey, 9. - Near Plaza de Zocodover.

Hotel y Hostal Sol ** - Calle Azacanes, 15, 8. - Near Puerta del Sol in Barrio de Antequeruela.

Hostal Alfonso XII ** - Calle Alfonso XII, 18. - Between the Cathedral and Santo Tomé Church.

Hostal Centro ** - Calle Nueva, 13. - Near Plaza de Zocodover.

Hostal La Almunia de San Miguel ** - Calle San Miguel, 12. - South of the Alcázar.

Hostal Puerta de Bisagra ** - Calle Potro, 5. - Right off Puerta de Bisagra.

Hostal Descalzos ** - Calle Descalzos, 30. - Near El Greco House & Museum.

Hostal La Campana ** - Calle La Campana, 10-12. - Cheap accommodation near Santo Tomé Church.

Hostal La Posada de Manolo ** - Calle Sixto Ramón Parro, 8. - Near the Cathedral.

Hostal Casa de Cisneros ** - Calle Cardenal Cisneros (esquina Cárcel del Vicario, 1). - In front of the Cathedral.

Hostal Santo Tomé ** - Calle Santo Tomé, 13. - Off Santo Tomé Church.

Pensión Reina Isabel ** - Calle Nuncio Viejo, 19. - Near the Cathedral.

Hostal Palacios ** - Calle Navarro Ledesma, 1. - Cheap accommodation near the Cathedral.

Hostal Boxes ** - Calle Covarrubias, 4. - Cheap accommodation near the bullring.

Hostal Madrid ** - Marqués de Mendigorría 7-14. - Cheap accommodation near the bullring.

Hostal Sol ** - Calle Azacanes, 8. - Cheap accommodation near Puerta del Sol.

Pensión Arrabal ** - Calle Alfonso VI, 1. - Cheap accommodation near Puerta de Bisagra.

Toledo Restaurants. Where to Eat.

Restaurante El Palacete - Calle Soledad, 2. - Near the Alcázar.

Restaurante La Cubana - Paseo de la Rosa, 2. - Off Bridge of Alcántara entrance gate.

El Casón de los López de Toledo - Calle Sillería, 3. - Near Plaza de Zocodover.

Restaurante La Abadía - Plaza de San Nicolás, 3. - Near Plaza de Zocodover.

Asador Palencia de Lara - Calle Nuncio Viejo, 6. - Near the Cathedral.

Restaurante Locum - Calle Locum, 6. - Near the Cathedral.

Restaurante Casa Aurelio - Plaza del Ayuntamiento, 8 and Calle Sinagoga 1, 6. - Near the Cathedral.

Restaurante Plácido - Calle Santo Tomé 2, 8 - Next to Santo Tomé Church.

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