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Toledo Travel Guide - Sights to See
Toledo is 43 miles from Madrid and takes 1¼ hours by bus or train. Estacion Sur de Autobus, #17 Calle Canarias, is near Atocha Station. Buses leave at frequent intervals. By train: From Atocha Station. In Toledo, the train stops at the bottom of the city's hill. You take a bus outside the station to the center of Toledo. I recommend the train.

This is El Greco's town and it looks much the same as he painted it. It is rich in history and art treasures and has been declared a national Monument. This former capital of the Castilian Empire blends the cultures of Arab, Jew and Christian. The greatest influences in the art and architecture are those of the Christians and the Moors. At one time the city was occupied by the Romans and then for 373 years by the Moors. In 1085 Alfonso VI re-conquered the city and it became the capital of Spain until 1561.

In Toledo, there are charming, winding, narrow streets. It is a tourist town, but a must see! A tourist usually has only a few hours in Toledo and they are precious. If you are independent, you'll generally eat lunch there. As much as you may dislike the idea, I recommend that you grab a quick bite at the McDonald's on the square. Restaurants are very slow and require one to have a full meal. Your time is too precious. Expect crowds.

The Cathedral: 10:30-1, 3:30-7. Begun by San Fernando in 1227 and completed in 1493, this is one of the most magnificent churches in Spain. Dominated by a 300 foot tower and flying buttresses outside and great rose windows inside, it contains great paintings by El Greco and Goya. The treasury contains the 15th century "monstrance" which is carried through the streets in the Corpus Christi processions. It is supposed to have been made from the first gold brought back by Columbus.

Museum of Santa Cruz: Hours 10-6... a short walk from Plaza de Zocodover. This 16th century museum houses a collection of furniture and paintings by El Greco, Goya, etc.

Church of Santo Tome: Hours 10-1:45, 3:30-6, Closed Sun Afternoon. This church houses El Greco's famous "Burial of Count Orgaz" from 1586. It must be seen!

El Greco's House: 10-2, 3:30-6, closed Sun afternoon. A short walk from Santo Tome. This house was originally part of a palace built by the Marquis of Villena in 1585. El Greco spent many years of his life here after settling in Toledo in 1577. Today, it is a musuem where you can visit his studio as well as several rooms furnished with authentic pieces of his time... plus many of his paintings.

Hospital de Taverna: 10-1:30, 3:30-6. Outside the town walls. And too far to walk to. This hospital is a 16th century palace built for Cardinal Tavera and now privately owned by the Duchess of Lerma. It houses a good collection of El Greco, Titian, and Ribera.

The Alcazar: 1:30-7:30. This royal residence later became Toledo's military academy... on Plaza de Zocodover; it is one of the dominant sites of the skyline in Toledo.
About the Author
Author of this article is Gene Gill. For more information visit his website: Gene Gill Miniatures.
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