Cathedral of Saint Mary, Toledo
This huge Cathedral merges Gothic Architecture with Baroque interior and is regarded as the main sight in Toledo. It stands on the site of a former mosque and it is said that there was an even older church before, though that has never been proven. Construction took place between 1226 and 1493 and shows Gothic as well of traces of Mudejar (Moorish-style Spanish architecture). The interior has a lot of sculptures and paintings, noteworthy is the Baroque installation covering walls and ceiling behind the choir. There is also an art gallery close to the chapter house which contains some El Grecos. The audioguide (see below) will point you to the most interesting places.
Visiting the tower is possible. Once you buy a ticket for it, yo will be allocated a time slot, meeting point is next to St. Blaise's Chapel. The tower is mainly interesting for the way up as well as the collection of bells. If you want to climb the tower to get a great view over the city, you will be disappointed. Up in the tower, the view is impaired by the structures of the carillon as well as fences. Go to the tower of the Jesuit Church instead – you will be surprised.
Entry Fee is 8 EUR (11 EUR if you want to visit the tower), audioguide (including Spanish, English, Italian, German and a couple of other languages) is included in the price. There is also a Cathedral museum which shows its treasury. At the time of my visit however, it was only available on Sunday. Plan around 1 ½ hours for a visit, including the tower. However, if you are interested in all the details, you can easily spend three hours here.
Address: Calle Cardenal Cisneros 1, Toledo
Directions: Right in the middle of the old town.
The Cathedral is one of the largest Cathedrals of Spain. Its length is 120 meters, width - 60 meters and height - 30 meters. Buildings which are surrounding the Cathedral have almost absolutely hidden the true sizes of the temple. It is very difficult to examine its lateral facades. The Portal of the Clock is the oldest of the portals, begun in the 14th century and located in the façade of the north side.
The Cathedral is the main sightseeing of Toledo. There is the residence of the head of the Spanish church - the first Cardinal. A westgothic church stood on a place of the Cathedral in V and VI centuries. Arabs transformed it into a mosque. The king Alfonso VIII decided to build a grandiose temple in Toledo after the victory of Christians over moors in fight at Cas Navas-de-Tolosa. The mosque was destroyed, the temple have been started to build in 1226. This construction proceeded three hundred years.
You can watch my 2 min 34 sec Video Toledo part 1 out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
The central gate is the Puerta del Perdon (Door of Forgiveness) because when it was built in the 15th century, indulgences were sold here and those who came through this gate sins' were supposed to be forgiven.
This is the central one of three gates/doors to the Cathedral, the others are called Puerta del Juicio Final (Last Judgement) and Puerta del Infierno (Gate of Hell)
The masonry work on these gates is breathtakingly beautiful!
Catedral Primada de Santa Maria de Toledo. One of the largest cathedrals in Spain, this is a Gothic masterpiece. From the outside it looks enormous, though it is not as cavernous feeling as the one in Sevilla. It was begun in 1226 and finished in 1493 under the Reyes Catolicos.
This was modeled on the Bourges Cathedral in France and stands on the site of an earlier church built by the Visogoths, which then became the mosque under the Moors. Like so many other cathedrals in Spain, this cathedral adapted the existing structure to their uses, gradually converting it entirely into a church. But the building is entirely Gothic, with phenomenal artwork and great carving. Particularly on the outside there are touches of Mudejar style
In fact, part of the terms of surrender offered to the Moors at Toledo were that institutions of learning would be preserved and freedom of worship would be granted to the Moslem citizens. This religious freedom is something that Toledo had a fame for over the years. Suffice to say that the mosque was taken over by the Christians. The Pope recognized Toledo as the main church (primate) in the country in 1088 and authorized construction of the new cathedral in 1224.
The Cathedral of Toledo is noteworthy not merely in terms of architecture. Artistically, it is an immense treasury of painting, sculpture, woodcarving...all of quality beyond compare.
Visiting hours are Mon-Sat 10:30am-6pm; Sun 2-6:30pm
Admission 7 euros (includes the Treasury)
Address: Cardenal Cisneros, 1 Toledo
The Toledo Cathedral is so massive a structure and fascinating to visit that I have broken up my VT pages into several sections. They look at the high altar, choir, pipe organs, chapter room, sacristy, transparente, treasury, cloisters, and a few of the smaller chapels All of which are definitely worth spending time looking at.
The Toledo Cathedral is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 to 18:30. On Sundays the cathedral is open from 14:00 to 18:30. Tickets to the cathedral are sold across from the cathedral in a modern building on Calle Cardenal. Ticket prices have just been increased to 8 euros per person. The price is reasonable considering all you will seeing.
While not among the largest pipe organs in the world the two pipe organs the two pipe organs are significant in terms of their age and beauty. The first of the organs was constructed in the early 1600's and the other in the early 18th century. They are situated between the high altar and the choir area of the cathedral.
The cloister is on the north side of the cathedral. It was built under the direction of Archbishop Pedro Tenorio who desired it to serve as his sepulchre. The construction of the cloister which began in 1389 lasted some thirty six years before its complete. The cloister contains four corridors with quadripartite vaults. For many years the cloister served as the central place for meetings in the town.
The Chapter House is to the right of the High Altar in the Cathedral. This room has it also. From a ceiling fresco that depicts the Italian Renaissance to walls that depict the Last Judgment and the seven sins. Below the walls and ceilings this room lays out nearly 2,000 years of the archbishops of Toledo. The arch bishop is the highest ranking religious official in Spain. The portraits of the arch bishops are laid out in rich red and gold colors providing real contrast with the ceiling frescoes. It is interesting to note the facial expressions of the individual arch bishops in the room. Some are understandably quite stoic while a few others even have a smile on their face.
The sacristy is where the priests prepare for mass. The sacristy in the Toledo Cathedral is immense and richly adorned. The thing that first struck me is the paintings on the ceilings. The one that I have taken a picture of was done by Luca Giordano and is very striking. In the same room on the walls are literally dozens of different works of art. Perhaps the most famous of these paintings is El Greco's, the Expoliation or Expolio, meaning the Disrobing of Christ. While we there it was also the most popular painting that visitors focused on. Christ's robe is bright red by other individuals in the painting gather around him to remove his robe. A picture of this painting is included in here as well.
Cathedrals, rarely if ever, have skylights. This skylight when it was built by Narcisco Tom was very controversial with Toledoans and throught Spain. Today it provides bright light coming through the ceiling of the cathedral. We had to do somewhat of a double take to make sure what we were looking at when we first viewed it.
If there is one thing you absolutely must see when visiting Toledo it is the stunning cathedral....assuming you have any interest whatsoever in history and/or architecture.
I love Gothic cathedrals and Toledo's is a truly magnificent example. It dates from the early 1200s and has five naves, which makes it absolutely massive...and remarkably light and airy for such an ancient building.
There is far too much to see inside for me to describe here. But make sure you allow yourself time to examine the choir and misericords in detail. The Medieval (1400s) carvings on the lower stalls are wonderful, the seats covered with real and mythical beasts, Biblical scenes and scenes from everyday Medieval life. Above each seat is a detailed carving of a scene...taken together they tell the story of the conquest of Granada. The upper stalls are equally detailed, with some incredibly realistic carvings of heads.
You can see more misericord and choir stall carvings here and here and here and here
And you must see the truly amazing polychrome-and-gilded-wood altarpiece in the main chapel, dating from the late 1400s. It is absolutely vast, a truly monstrous (but strangely attractive) structure which took 6 years to create.
But there is so much more: each side-chapel has its own points of historical and artistic interest. Make sure you go into the cloisters too, to see the Chapel of St Blaise (1397).Many of the original murals in this chapel have been uncovered and restored and really are artistic treasures; beautifully-detailed scenes from the Bible with intricate decorative patterns separating them. Make sure you look at the painted corbels (arch supports) too.
Address: Calle Cardenal Cisneros
Directions: In the centre of the old town. Entrance on Calle Cardenel Cisneros: buy tickets (7 euro without the tower) from the ticket office opposite the entrance.
The Cathredral is in one word, Majestic.
Toledo was at one time, the seat of the Holy See in Spain, so that explains whe the actual Cathredral is as big and majestic as it is.
So worth a visit and to wander round and marvel.
The art here is amazing.
Address: Cant be missed
The North Tower houses the famous bell, the Campana Gorda. It weighs an amazing 17 tons and was cast in 1753. The spire of the Cathedral stands at 100metres. One of the bells is named after Saint Leocadia who’s remains are contained in a silver urn in the cathedral.
Address: Cathedral of Toledo
Toledo’s Cathedral is considered to be one of the greatest Gothic buildings in Europe. It was built between 1226 – 1493 on the site of what was originally a Visigothic church built in 578 and then the Great Mosque of Toledo. The church is open Mon – Sat from 10.30am to 6.00pm, Sun from 2.0m to 6.00pm.