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Toledo, Spain NOT Ohio
May 10, 2008
Pete's Pics > Toledo, Spain NOT Ohio
 
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Puente de San Martin is the heavily fortified 14th century bridge over the Rio Tajo on the west side of town. The entire area around the river bank where building is not feasible has been developed as a conservation area


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The Tajo is a fast flowing river, at one time powering various water mills


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Calle Alamillos de San Martin, the road up from the San Martin bridge


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Puerta del Cambron is a gate in the main wall. Vehicular access to this part of town is not restricted


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Palacio de la Cava has been "renovated" to the point of out-Disneying Disney


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San Juan de los Reyes in maintenance mode


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Now properly in the old town, the streets were often too narrow to cycle along safely, especially considering the cobbled surfaces and the unforgiving grades


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This Churreria and Chocolateria has sprouted up right next door to the sober looking convent. A churreria makes churros, deep fried coils of dough, sort of Spanish Dunkin' Donuts I suppose


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The sterile looking building next door is the Convento San Antonio, a Franciscan order of nuns. Renovation in this case seems to have been held to a quick squirt with a power washer - it probably looked better before it was improved


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At this point we were in the heart of the tourist impoverishment area, replete with Chinese made local crafts


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Rounding one corner, I found Marian trying to get it on with the Tin Man. "He's so cute and truly a bargain!"


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Deftly, I pulled back the curtain and showed her the ranks of "unique" little tin men waiting to take her fancy's place. Do you think the small size is the result of using Chinese guys to model them?


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Practically every street one looked down seemed stacked with things that were crying out for a good look


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Iglesia d la Salvador, 13th century parish church serving a small neighborhood


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It was graduation day at the Metropolitan Seminary and the place was bristling with proud parents and grandparents. Even my bike was overcome with excitement and its chain fell off


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To design a city such as Toledo seems beyond the realm of reality. So much is stuffed into the place with the tiny twisted streets threading through an astounding range of buildings


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More spires in our future if we can survive the hills, the cobbles and the occasional vehicle


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After a little more lurching around, we came across the cathedral, ranked among the greatest Gothic structures in Europe. Inside, the cathedral contains important masterpieces including a baroque high altar and two paintings by El Greco. The north tower is 295 feet high, the south tower was never finished and was simply capped with a Gothic dome


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The facade dates primarily from the early 15th century, with three Gothic portals sculpted in 1418-50


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Outside of the cathedral is a large triangular plaza, the Plaza del Ayuntamiento or Town Hall Square. Across the street, connected by the covered walkway, is the Palacio Arzobispal (Archbishop's Palace)


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This is the Archbishops Palace on the north side of the triangle - not very exciting is it?


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City hall, on the southwest side of the plaza was built in 1575 and has two floors with impressive towers on each side with Madrid-style spires. Must feel good to spend taxpayers money


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This sorry little church is the Iglesia de San Miguel. Our usually trusty treasure finder more or less blew it on this one


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Next we climbed horrible hairpin streets pushing our bikes toward an ever increasing volume of confrontational chants


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Turned out that these disgruntled demonstrators were trading insults for nightstick whacks handed out by Toledo's finest - not a great bargain if you ask me


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This fine looking building is the Academy of Infantry


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Finally, the reason for the climb to the top of the town - the Alcazar!


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Rats! No Rapunzel towers or Robin Hood parapets here, just a forbidding looking building that was closed for renovations. Kind of cooled my ardor for Alcazars


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Undeterred, we started down again, this time heading toward the northern end of town


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Another view of the welter of structural styles that have come together in cities such as Toledo. We were a little daunted at picking through this lot


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Intriguing streets meandering between a hodgepodge of buildings. Although we covered many miles in the city, there were few opportunities to cycle


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Originally built in Moorish style in the 11th century, the tower collapsed in the 12th century and the church was completely rebuilt in a Neo-Classical style in 1762. The famous Virgen de Alfileritos de Toledo lives in a little niche in the back wall


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Half a mile inside the northern city wall proper there are other gates that presumably were used to control movement in and out of the city center


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On the right is the obverse of the gate in the previous picture and another gate to the inner city scarcely 100 yards away. From here we descended an impossibly steep street to reach the surrounding terrain altitude. 30 feet or so above the river


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Our route brought us out of the alley at the center of this picture where the car is going in. This area is still within the walled city but is clearly more spacious than the "old" old town visible in the background


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In the direction we were heading was the Iglesia Santiago El Major. This church, constructed in the eleventh century, is an example Mudejar architecture which means literally "permitted to remain" and refers to Muslims who paid a tax for that privilege, after the Spanish re-conquest of the Iberian peninsular


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Just past the Iglesia Santiago is Puerto de Bisagra, once the main entrance into Toledo, it is now the only remaining Moorish gate in the medieval walls. Judged from the proportions of the stonework and the horseshoe arch, the lower portions are believed to be from the 10th century while the upper parts are dated in the 13th century


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This was how Toledo appeared when approached by road from the north. The rectangular arches at each side are recent additions for improved vehicular access


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The city wall can be seen running up the hillside on the right of the picture


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This is a view of the "real world" outside of the city walls. The building is the Hospital Tavera


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It was now our unwelcome chore to climb back up into the inner city and continue our circuit. We stopped briefly for a much needed defibrilliation in Plaza de San Vincente where, imagine this, the Iglesia San Vincente just happened to be. We were unable to determine the purpose of the fabric cover over the street - it ran along many popular tourist streets


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For a while we followed the linen sky admiring the floral displays along the way


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Iglesia de Ildefonso, also known as the "Jesuits' church" having been built by the Jesuit between 1628 and 1719. In 1767, King Charles III expelled the Jesuits from Spain and the church was renamed as "San Juan Bautista". The Jesuits resumed ownership in 1937


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Museo de los Concilios y de la Cultura Visigótica - Visigothic Museum - another World Heritage site


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Santa Teresa de Jesus - who seems to loom large in Toledo - lived in this house in 1562


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Tucked away close to Santa Teresa's house is the Iglesia de San Román, a 13th-century Mudéjar church. San Roman's tower originally stood apart from the main church as it was actually a Muslim minaret at the time


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Convento de las Carmelitas Descalzas


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Built in the 13th century, Iglesia Santa Leocadia is another in the Mudejar style. From time to time it seems, the Spanish people got hotly xenophobic. In 1492 they expelled all Jews and, at the same time deported all Muslims who would not convert to Christianity. Three million Muslims were returned to Africa under this program


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Santo Tome is one of Toledo's best-known churches. It is close to El Greco's house and dates from the twelfth century with a rebuild in 1300. Most visitors come to see El Greco's most important painting, the Burial of Count Orgaz (1586-88), which is in a side chapel. I don't think El Greco himself actually knew who he was since he was simply called "The Greek"
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