With summer fast approaching I thought I’d feature another travelling post. This time we’ll take a tour through Spain visiting Toledo, Segovia, Salamanca and Madrid. As there are too many photos for one post I’m dividing it into 3 or 4, starting with Toledo.
Toledo is a municipality located in central Spain, 70 km south of Madrid. It is the capital of the province of Toledo. It is also the capital of the autonomous community of Castile-La Mancha. It was declared a World Heritage by UNESCO in 1986 for its extensive cultural and monumental heritage as one of the former capitals of the Spanish Empire and place of coexistence of Christian, Jewish and Moorish cultures.
Having been populated since the Bronze Age, Toledo (Toletum in Latin) grew in importance during Roman times, being a main commercial and administrative center in the Roman province of Tarraconensis. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Toledo served as the capital city of Visigothic Spain and was the capital of Spain until the Moors conquered Iberia in the 8th century.
Under the Caliphate of Cordoba, Toledo enjoyed a golden age. Under Arab rule, Toledo was called Tulaytulah. After the fall of the Caliphate, Toledo was the capital city of one of the richest Taifa Muslim kingdoms of Al-Andalus, and, because of its central location in the Iberian Peninsula, Toledo took a central position in the struggles between the Muslim and Christian rulers of northern Spain.
On May 25, 1085 Alfonso VI of Castile took Toledo and established direct personal control over the Moorish city from which he had been exacting tribute, and ending the mediaeval Taifa’s Kingdom of Toledo. This was the first concrete step taken by the combined kingdom of Leon-Castile in theReconquista by Christian forces. After Castilian conquest, Toledo continued to be a major cultural centre; its Arab libraries were not pillaged, and a tag-team translation centre was established, in which books in Arabic would be translated from Arabic or Hebrew to Spanish by Arab and Jewish scholars, and from Spanish to Latin by Castilian scholars, thus letting long-lost knowledge spread through Christian Europe again.
For some time during the 16th century, Toledo served as the capital city of Castile, and the city flourished. However, soon enough the Spanish court was moved first toValladolid and then to Madrid, thus letting the city’s importance dwindle until the late 20th century, when it became the capital of the autonomous community of Castile-La Mancha. Nevertheless, the economic decline of the city helped to preserve its cultural and architectural heritage. Today, because of this rich heritage, Toledo is one of Spain’s foremost cities, receiving thousands of visitors yearly. I suppose looking at the pictures one knows why this city is so popular…