Toledo is an easy one-hour train ride south of Madrid. The train station is really a moorish classic.
The best way to get into the center of town is by purchasing a ride on the tourist bus that allows you to get on and off at will as it circles the city and then dives into the center. These busses run about every 15 minutes.
And, here we go.
By circling the city we are given some great overall views.
And, getting closer, we pass the famous Puente de San Martin.
Same, from downstream.
Having made a complete circle around the city we now head into the main gate, the Puerta de Bisagra.
And straight up to the top of the hill to the Alcazar. We will go by foot from here. The Alcazar was disappointing in that it has been so modernized that is could pass as a fancy modern office building.
This is the Plaza de Zocodover. A central point for heading deep into the historic city.
Winding narrow streets with lots of shops.
In the distance the tower of the cathedral looms. That is our first destination.
You can see one side of the cathederal a few blocks away.
Passing along the side to get to the main entrance.
Lets go inside.
Another beautiful piece of medieval Gothic construction. Built between 1227 and 1493.
Another decorative bronze screen between the altar and the crowds, similar to Seville's. Wonderful tile surface on the dome and walls.
Behind the altar is the seating for the clergy.
A really remarkable feature of this cathedral is this skylight opening through the thick wall of the cathedral. It's purpose is to allow natural light in to illuminate a two-story baroque altar, called El Transparente.
The skylight opening is decorated with statues that give the appearance of an opening up to heaven.
The El Transparante altar is a baroque mix of figures in bronze, marble and stucco.
Gothic galleries surround the cloister.
Some of these display beautiful large frescoes.
Inside the Chapel of the Treasury is displayed what is called the Monstrance of Arfe. This is a work over ten feet in height using the finest silver, gold and gems. It contains eighteen kilograms of gold and 183 kilograms of pure silver. Completed after seven years of work in the year 1524, it has been carried in the annual procession of Corpus Christi of Toledo every year since 1595.
About a kilometer west of the Cathederal is another notable religous complex - the Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes. This great monastery was built between 1477 and 1504 and is used by the Franciscan order.
The gothic main chapel is simply decorated.
The central cloister is surrounded by decorative gothic arcades.
A small garden in the center.
A block west of the monastery is the western gate of the city, the Puerta del Cambron.
Same gate from the outside.
We walked about a kilometer south and west to get to the Puente de San Martin.
One fun aspect of this was the zip-line available for adventurous tourists to speed across the river.
After passing on the zip-line offering we picked up our tourist bus again to travel back into the center of town. Back at the Plaza de Zocodover. Just behind me in this photo is a gateway to the south.
This gateway is ominously called the Arco de la Sangre. One block down on the left side is the Museum of Santa Cruz.
Museo de Santa Cruz. The building was built in the 16th century as a hospital, but converted to a museum in the 19th century.
Beautiful display of many varied works, from armor to tapestries to paintings.
El Greco works.
La Anunciacion, by El Greco. (year 1602)
Sagrada familia con Santa Ana, by El Greco. (year 1595)
Central courtyard of the museum.