Three Places to Visit in Toledo, Spain
By Ani Babayan
“Tell me one travel destination you’d like to visit with me,” I asked my sweetheart. Without even thinking for a moment he said “Toledo,” and although I was actually thinking of visiting Verona, Italy, to see Juliet’s house I decided to put aside all that and buy two tickets to Toledo, Spain (it was a birthday gift to him).
Though Toledo is indescribably beautiful, I have to admit that it’s more for people who love history. Once the capital of Spain, Toledo is very close to the present-day capital, so it is possible to visit both and compare them. With all respect to Madrid I would say that, to me, Toledo is more beautiful both as a city and as a capital, than Madrid.
Every country I have been to so far has become dear to me for one reason or another. In the case of Toledo it seems I have thousands of reasons to love it; the beauty, the view, the nature, people, the buildings, the overall atmosphere… Perhaps I am exaggerating, but that’s how I feel about this city.
Alcazar Fortress – Built in Roman times Alcazar is the first square fortress featuring four towers on the corners. The fortress is located on a hill and over the centuries it has served different purposes. It used to be Carlos V’s royal residence. Later, in 1643, it was turned into a state prison. Presently, it is the Army Museum This museum is for those who are interested in various types of arms and all army and military related history, objects and documents.
It’s open to public form Monday to Saturday 10 am to 7 pm, and on Sundays 10 am to 3 am. Admission is free for students or the disabled and for everyone else is it around 5 Euros.
Cathedral de Toledo
Beyond a shadow of doubt, Spain is a country where churches, monasteries and cathedrals are a must see for every traveler. They not only help you get a closer look at this particular country, but also make you feel excited and you realise that the human imagination has no boundaries.
This temple represents the best example of Spanish Gothic art. The full name of the church is “The Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo.” Its story goes back many years and at times part of it has been a Muslim mosque. Only in the 19th century it was turned into a Christian church. Eighty-eight columns support the roof. Cathedral Toledo bears historical and architectural importance, and is one of the most popular sites in Toledo. It also includes artwork by el Greco, one of my most favorite Renaissance artists.
Puente de San Martin
With a fortified tower at each end and five arches the Bridge of San Martin was built in the 14th century. It was built to replace an earlier bridge and is situated to the west of Toledo. As you cross the bridge, there will be at least one person asking if you know the bridge’s legend or not. I am sure they must tell that legend more than ten times a day and never tire of it!
The legend says that the engineer responsible for the bridge construction one day discovers that he has made a wrong calculation, which can cause not only loss of reputation, but also cost him his life. So he doesn’t tell anyone about that and the construction goes on. Realizing the danger and also not being able to keep it in secret any more he decides to share his worries with his wife. On a stormy night his wife goes to the bridge burns down in the part where the miscalculations had been made. The damage was thought to be done by the storm and so the engineer reconsiders his calculations, rebuilds the bridge correctly and up to this day the bridge stands firmly.
During a visit to Armenia, we were crossing a bridge, and our tour guide said that those who were crossing the bridge for the first time should make a wish being sure it would come true. I can’t remember what wish I made then or if it came true or not, but while crossing San Martin Bridge, I wished that my boyfriend would propose to me. I don’t know if it was the power of the bridge, but it came true and in a few days we are to be married. You are all invited!
To round up I would like to say that Toledo may not be the best Spanish city but if, like me, you love historical and architectural cities which also teach you something then Toledo deserves to be included in your travel list.