Holy Toledo! Part 2: Journey with the History Guru to England and Spain

Posted on Jan 30, 2012 in category


Lunchtime loomed as we exited Toledo’s heaven on earth cathedral. There’s little hyperbole in saying that everything closes in Spain for the sacred cows of the mid-day meal and the inevitable siesta. Well when in Rome……

Walking slowly around the streets of Toledo after a hearty meal one can admire the houses and in particular, their facades.

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Easy to be house proud in Toledo at No.11


No.2 is pretty good too! I like the palm trick

Another architectural treasure of Toledo is the ‘Mezquita Cristo de la Luz’. An inscription informs us that the mosque was built between 13 December A.D.999 and 11 January A.D. 1000. Originally called ‘Bab al-Mardum’ after the nearby gate, it was renamed Santa Cruz Chapel in the 12th century by the Order of St. John. The chapel is only 8 square metres with four reused Visigoth columns whose vaulted ceilings were inspired by the mosque at Cordoba, the capital of Moorish Spain, Al-Andalus.

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Nine square vaulted rooms with a different cupola design on each section of the ceiling

In 2006 an excavation in the north terrace of the mosque’s gardens unearthed a 5 metre wide Roman road with granite flagstones and an underground sewer.


Above is a recently excavated Roman granite road of some status with part of the sewer (left). A circus track seating 13,000 people was built in Toledo (Tolentum) as early as 192 B.C.

The fortified gates and walls of Toledo left me appropriately with my final image of Toledo. This city has played a significant role in world history with the founding here of the Spanish Inquisition by King Ferdinand and Isabella that went on to play havoc with infidels and non-believers throughout the world. It was the capital of Castile royalty for many centuries until the move to Madrid and the Romans, Visigoths and the Moors built and defended this piece of hilly turf. Now a World Heritage site since 1986 the city’s custodians must make it a bastion of world heritage, difficult to defend in today’s debt-ridden euro economy.


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Porta del Sol (14th century) Puerta de Bisabra Murallas


Puerta de Bisabra A.D.1550 with the crest of Charles I of Spain

For more historical details on the walls and gateways of Toledo see:


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