Perched atop a rocky mountain and surrounded by yellow hillsides, the medieval city of Toledo Spain is one of the oldest towns on the Iberian Peninsula, and a perfect day trip or overnight visit from Madrid. The city of Toledo Spain is only 44 miles from the teeming capital, yet in the 90 minutes it takes to arrive there by train, one feels that they have left not only Madrid, but the last three centuries behind. As the city comes into view, the skyline is dominated by the mighty Alcazar fortress. Below the Alcazar, mosques and churches and synagogues are heaped one upon another with only the narrowest of cobbled street twisting through the architectural maze.
The rock on which Toledo Spain sits is bounded on three sides by the Rio Tajo. The city Toledo Spain was inhabited in prehistoric times, and there already existed an important Iberian settlement when the Romans arrived around 200 BC. When the Moors ruled Spain they practiced unusual religious tolerance in Toledo; both Christianity and Judaism were tolerated, with the result being that today Toledo is one of the few cities in the world in which it is possible to view Renaissance Cathedrals, Synagogues and Mosques. Modern Toledo is still considered the religious and historical capital of Spain, and the entire city has even been declared a National Monument.
More than religious architecture, Toledo is known for the imposing Alcazar fortress. During your tour of Toledo Spain Alcazar is a must-visit for every traveler. Head to the Plaza de Zocodover and enter the Alcazar off Calle Cuesta del Alcazar. To truly see Toledo Spain Alcazar offers the best views, and its upper windows are level with the top of the nearby cathedral spire, making for an awe inspiring image and picture-taking opportunity.
Looking out from the Alcazar you see that Toledo still retains its medieval road plan, and to describe the city's streets as maze-like is really something of an understatement. If you are exploring on foot, makes sure to locate an accurate map, or carry enough pesetas to be able to catch a taxi out of the jumble if need be.
The Romans established a strong steel working craft in the town of Toledo, and today the name Toledo is synonymous with the steel swords crafted here. But one of the sad facts about Toledo Spain is that steel work is not practiced as much today as in the past. The closest look a tourist is likely to get is the small silver smith workshops near the Church of San Juan de los Reyes. However, one of the redeeming facts about Toledo Spain is that souvenir shops selling attractive damascene steel swords and knives still abound. Some of the best Toledo Spain Shopping is on the Called Del Comercio near the Plaza de Zocodover. This animated thoroughfare is lined with bars and some of the best Toledo Spain shopping opportunities.