Day 9: Toledo, Spain - the city of three cultures!

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Europe » Spain » Castile-La Mancha » Toledo
October 24th 2015
Published: April 5th 2016
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The morning started off with us exploring the nearby Mosque of Cristo de la Luz. The mosque built during the 10thcentury, was turned into a Christian church after the taking of Toledo by Alphonse VI in 1085. The small mosque consists of pillars and horseshoe arches emblematic of Islamic architecture. Outside the mosque is a small peaceful garden with a fountain to sit down and relax.

After visiting the mosque, we had a quick breakfast of croissants and churrios con chocolate before heading over to the Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes.

The Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes was founded by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to commemorate their triumph over Portugal at Toro in 1476. The cloister has a small, tranquil garden. It was used from the beginning by Franciscan friars and is an example of Spanish-Flemish style architecture.

The next place we explored was the synagogue of Santa Maria la Blanca. Now a museum, Santa Maria la Blanca was a former synagogue in Toledo. It was constructed under the Christian Kingdom of Castille by Islamic architects for Jewish use. Therefore, it reflects the cooperation that existing between the three cultures. There are numerous Moorish style horseshoe arches surrounding the church with gold motifs designs.

The other synagogue that we visited was the Synagogue of El Transito. Known for its rich stucco decorations, it also houses a small Jewish museum. There were English pamphlets available to explain Jewish history and the museum’s many artifacts. There was also an interesting small Jewish cemetery at the back of the synagogue.

Our last stop was the Toledo Cathedral. We did not pay to go inside because the price was too steep; 11euro for entry! We did however find a back entrance and saw a little section of the cathedral for free. Furthermore, the door knobs of the cathedral are pretty interesting. They are attached really high because individual would knock on the doors while on horseback.

So in one day we saw Muslim, Christian and Jewish architecture all in one place. Pretty cool! Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to Toledo, as we headed to Madrid. Tomorrow will be the official start of our Contiki guided trip around Spain, Morocco and Portugal.

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