The Organ at the back of the Choir of the Cathe­dral of St Mary of Toledo

The city, lodged in a bend of high cliffs over the riv­er Tagus, has been a fortress since Roman times and lat­er an impor­tant roy­al city of the Visig­oth kings and a seat of learn­ing and art under the Umayyad Caliphate of Cor­do­ba from the 8th to the 11th centuries.

The city fell to the Chris­tians in the late 11th cen­tu­ry Recon­quista but flour­ished in the 15th cen­tu­ry when the “Catholic Mon­archs”, Fer­di­nand and Isabel­la, who reunit­ed the Iber­ian penin­su­la under one joint King­dom remod­elled the mag­nif­i­cent 13th Cen­tu­ry goth­ic Cathe­dral of St Mary of Tole­do and endowed it with many of the fab­u­lous rich­es that Spain took from its Colom­bian ter­ri­to­ries in the New World.

We spent sev­er­al hours in the Cathe­dral — until the expe­ri­ence became a bit over­whelm­ing — and in the the Mudé­jar-style clois­ters, packed with gold altar ves­sels, giant mon­strances and with art trea­sures (includ­ing Velasquez and El Gre­co). The ambu­la­to­ry vaults of the Cathe­dral, behind the main altar, are remark­able roco­co addi­tions filled with dra­mat­ic light

Lat­er we wan­dered, in a blaz­ing August heat, down to the parks on the cliffs above the Riv­er to rest under pep­per trees where the breeze and the res­pi­ra­tion of the trees low­ered the tem­per­a­ture by (pos­si­bly) 10 degrees.

Please down­load the PDF book to view the full-size images (here). Please set your PDF read­er on your com­put­er or tablet to ‘full-screen’ or ‘slideshow’ for the best experience.




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