We decided to take a day trip to Toledo from Madrid. It’s only half an hour on their high speed train so it was worth it.
Toledo used to be the capital of Spain before they moved it to Madrid. It is located on a steep hill and full of medieval and Moorish flavor. It used to be the center of learning under King Alfonso. It was one of the few cities in our world history where there was religious tolerance and Muslim, Christians and Jews all lived together peacefully. They even participated in this massive translating of important books and texts which would eventually be called the Toledo School of Translators. Scholars congregated and translated the Bible, the Koran and the Torah and other important Greek and Roman works into Hebrew, Latin, Arabic and Castiliian Spanish. According to this documentary, Michael Scot, a wandering polyglot scholar was looking for a school of learning. He thought the schools in Paris thought too highly of themselves especially for the kind of learning and students they were producing –not good enough. He found the school he was looking for in Toledo. Here was true learning – of three different cultures assimilating and learning from each other and reviving the Greek and Roman texts and knowledge.
Toledo is known for its swords. There are many Lord of the Rings replica swords. There are Western medieval swords. Celtic swords. Roman swords. And Moorish swords and scimitars.
We saw two beautiful places of worship – a Jewish synagogue and a Visigothic Christian church that combined their ethnic religious art with Moorish/Islamic art. Why you ask?
At that time, Muslim architects were well known for its intricate carvings and tiles. Everyone was striving to get them. Only the very best for us, thank you. You are Muslim? Yes, we’ll hire you. The Alhambra and the Mezquita are some of the finest examples of Moorish art.
One city I’ll enjoy visiting again – Toledo