Toledo is one of the oldest and proudest cities in Spain and during Roman times, a large settlement was established there. Later, the Visigoths recognized the strategic value of this city on the Tagos River and it became the capital of their empire.
Elevated on a mighty rock foundation, Toledo’s unique location served a useful purpose for its eventual defense, as the city was the scene of many a bloody battle.
In 712 AD, the capital of the Visigoths was violently integrated with the Muslim Empire of Al-Andalus. Throughout the centuries, Toledo has been regarded as a cultural centre of medieval Spain and was known as a ‘City of Three Cultures’, as it was here that Arabs, Jews and Christians lived together in peace until the time when the catholic church grew intolerant of other religions.
In 1226, construction work on the monumental Cathedral of Toledo began and in 1493, the Gothic masterpiece was completed. The proportions of this enormous cathedral make it one of the most spectacular in Spain.
The mighty fortress of Alcázar is a world apart from the cathedral and served as the model for the later building of El Escorial. Since its construction in the 16th century, the city’s landmark was rebuilt and restored following numerous wars and hostilities.
The massive Bisagra Gate embodies yet another symbol of the fusion between Arabic Moorish and Spanish Castilian architecture.
Swathed in colorful and dramatic history, Toledo enjoys a unique place among all of Spain’s old and fascinating cities.
Global Treasures - History's Most Protected Monuments - Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa's Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world's heritage. Join us as we explore one of these protected monuments.