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Toledo Spain January 16, 2009

Posted by anagasto in building, history, photography, Spain.
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Location_Spain_EU_Europe_world
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….madrid toledo

 

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Photo  by VulcanTrekkie45 in public domain at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tagus-Toledo.JPG

Toledo the Beautiful as seen from the river that surrounds it deep down.  The city is built high up on a rock like a fortress because in its origins there were wars.
The old history books say Toledo may have been founded by Rome or by Greece or even by Heracles or by the Jews.

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The famous skyline of Toledo by Diliff. You see the cathedral and the Alcazar , and behind the Alcazar you can see the plain all the way to the blue mountains.

The  Diliff file is under the CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Toledo_Skyline_Panorama,_Spain_-_Dec_2006.jpg with a free 3 mega version at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/26/Toledo_Skyline_Panorama%2C_Spain_-_Dec_2006.jpg.

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450px-Cristo de la Luz

Large parts of Spain belonged to the Arabs for nearly 800 years. That is a very long time, twice as long as the history of the United States, and so there are traces of Arab culture in Spain’s architecture as in this mosque and also in the Spanish language.

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synagogue in Toledo

There is also a famous synagogue called El Tránsito. It is now a mueseum.

The photo is from http://jpkirk.net/spain.htm

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The inside of the Tránsito synagogue as photographed at http://www.sacred-destinations.com/spain/toledo-sinagoga-del-transito.

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The Holy Ark
The photo by Roy Lindman is published under the CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:RoyLindmanElTransito_008.jpg

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The Torah ark cover
Photo by  Roy Lindeman  published under the CC Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:RoyLindmanElTransitoSynagogue_005.jpg.

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el-greco-the-burial-of-the-count Click to see enlarged

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This is a burial by El Greco. There is a bishop and all the celebrities of that time, plus many angels and the Virgin, a great solemn event. And doesn’t it also look a little spooky like Lord of the Rings artwork ? But he invented new colours and let them flow in rivers down his paintings, where each river became the robe of a saint.

El Greco (meaning “Greek”, because he was from Greece) lived in Toledo and painted the view 400 years ago just like a modern painter :

toledo by el greco

The reproduction is from  flybottle.wordpress.com/from-el-greco-to-picasso

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300px-alcazar_of_toledo_-_toledo_spain_-_dec_2006

The fortress is called the Alcazar, an Arab name meaning castle. It was completely destroyed in Spain’s civil war, 3 years before WWII.

The photo is a screenshot fragment of the Diliff panorama shown above.

alcazar during attack.

There were soldiers and refugees hiding in the Alcazar when it collapsed under bombs and fire.

Help was arriving: they had to walk. Transportation was scarce and expensive, the same as in all the wars up until quite recently.

These stills are from a Youtube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMnWInCJIGY&feature=related.

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kathedraletoledo

The Cathedral of Toledo.

Cathedrals were all hand-made. It took at least a hundred years to build one. People from all over participated. As a result cathedrals embody 1000 different ideas and perspectives and are hard to photograph.

This cathedral photo is a screenshot fragment of the  Diliff panorama  identified above.

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Toledo city wall

Toledo was a capital city in the Middle Ages. It needed strong defenses and immense city walls. To get an idea of the size of these walls, compare them in the picture above to that little blue car just about to disappear behind a tower.

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This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Attribution: Tgilbert328 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Toledo-Espania-August-2006.JPG

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The photo is by courtesy of ghD.

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In  those immense walls there are big, fortified city gates:

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The photo of the city gates  are from Wikipedia in public domain

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To the left there, that shrub with the large red flowers: that is beautiful but poisonous Oleander that you would also see all along the highways blossoming when nothing else blossoms anymore.

The photo below  is from a travel blog at http://www.thisfabtrek.com/journey/africa/morocco/20050509-marrakech.php :


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.toledo-city-bridge

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….Toledo bridge

To access the city you had to cross a bridge, and the bridge was defended by a city gate complete with watch towers and crenellations. The picture was taken in early  spring.

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Wait a little longer, and there won’t be any of those little yellow  flowers anymore in summer  at 40º C = 104 F and no rain ever. —

The second bridge photo above is again from the travel photo web at http://jpkirk.net/spain.htm.

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toledo-spain-view011

The cathedral and the Alcazar high up, and way down the Tagus river. Because of that insipid sky it sure wouldn’t be another Diliff photo, but I must find the reference. (Rule of thumb: if it is sunset, it is Diliff. If it is sunrise, it is ghD).

The Alcazar and the cathedral and, in the foreground, a Spanish oak.

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toledo-spain-cathedral ……..narrow street of toledo

Some of the streets are so narrow that you risk scraping both outside mirrors at the same time. In the background on the left you see the cathedral. The other photo is from http://jpkirk.net/spain.htm .

The houses are built almost one on top of the other. —  There was never a lack of space in the past, but there were endless wars, so people needed the protection of those walls which were expensive to build and maintain. — The countryside is empty.

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Toledo again as seen from the “Parador”.

In Spain, a parador is a great old building re-modeled as a four or five star hotel. Elsewhere, but not here, you would be a little surprised to find plastic chairs at the outdoor restaurant of a four star hotel. Maybe these just look plasticky and are in fact African hardwood or something. Anyway, the view is such that you don’t have one second to consider the chairs (and whether the table cloth needs ironing):

view-from-the-parador

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Added April 27, 2009

walking-to-the-toledo-office

…. You are part of history on the way to your office

walking-to-school-in-toledo

….  on your way to school

toledo-landscape …. or at a picnic outside the city below El Cid’s castle …

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…. and when you get up early to see the sun rise.

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May 9, 2009

A panorama view from the Parador : 12 pictures stitched together, taken with a 60 pixels camera and exhibited full-size at http://tinyurl.com/ryfgv6.  no lomger

The photographer says that for this photo he would have liked to have a giga pixel camera. — :-)

Toledo panorama

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Some photos are courtesy ghD. Three and the spectacular one below are by J.P. Kirk  to be seen at his web http://jpkirk.net/spain.htm.

See those clouds? No, not photoshop, but maybe a little luck, because, as Pasteur says, in the moments of observation chance favours the prepared mind.

Toledo seen from its parador

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And the tourists?

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They are having a great time.

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Finally, I also found a city map. It is from This is Toledo by Juan Campos Payo. It is still available as a used book both at Amazon and at ABE books. I saw it at Amazón starting at 29 cents, when new it costs 42 dollars. The photos by Rada, Oronoz, San José are world class. Now what’s still missing is the index of the buildings marked with numbers on the map.

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Comments»

1. abc341 - April 27, 2009

The top photo is not by Diliff. Check http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/79/Tagus-Toledo.JPG. The photographer’s name is something like VulkanD.

2. cantueso - February 20, 2010

Thank you for letting me know.

3. cantueso - December 6, 2011

Oooops!

And now that address that you gave in 2009 produces a 404 error.

4. Lisa Hill - September 26, 2012

This is terrific. I’m one of those tourists, belatedly scrapbooking photos from my trip and trying to identify the buildings I didn’t previously label. Thanks:)


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