While I am writing the final part of my travel account on Toledo (Spain), I still wonder why I am so enchanted by the place, its undefinable atmostphere! To most tourists Toledo is just a day-trip destination arriving in the morning and leave before sunset. To me, it is a place I just don’t feel knowing it at all, even after spending some days there. A place full of history (and legends), the complicated, twisting and bitter history. I am keen to read history, as I am almost sure that no one could live a life wiser without knowing the past, which mirrors the present even if it may not repeat itself, yet so often history does!
In that late afternoon, I were sitting at Zocodover Plaza (the square) which is the old marketplace of Toledo. The sunlight reflected on the windows of the buildings around the Plaza, and I saw other buildings through those reflections; the only inharmony was the big yellow McDonald signatory hanged above the café. Yet what more inharmonious was its past, what could be more clashing at that particular spot where I sat? Well, was it once the place where the Spanish Inquisition – “act of faith” (auto da fe) took place? Reader could find out his/her own version in explaining the Inquisition, as there exists different versions of “truth”! …. What strikes me is a brief saying where the burnings at the stake of those converted “only outwardly” from Judaism, were those forced converts being handed out by other Jews (apart from the Christians). I thought that was another kind of “anti-Semites”! Indeed, there once existed a very special definition of fidelity (or infidelity) ….! Does history really belong to the past? I just wonder in today’s Toledo (or in the world), if there is genuine coexistence of three religious faiths, or is it just a false and hideous façade of tolerance?
To finalise my rough travel account on Toledo, I list below a few other sites that worth so much :
- Mezquita Cristo de la Luz, one of the two mosques left in Toledo, at least a thousand year old, I spent some time to figure out how its 9 vaults, 12 horseshoe arches, 4 columns, work out a marvelous ceiling, the counting once confused me!
- Iglesia de los Jesuitas, a truly beautiful serene church that one could visit its tower with a marvellous view of the city.
- San Juan de los Reyes Monasrerio, with a surreal two-level cloisters in beautiful design, and the German cross vaults; enclosing a very lovely garden (photos below).
- Catedral de Toledo, I suppose no visitor will leave Toledo without seeing this important and immense structure. It deserves a book on every single detail there (wiki descriptive information).
And still the list is long, including Alcazar, Museum of Santa Cruz …., much to be discovered. Toledo, it is indeed a land of Marzipan and Swords!
Toledo (Part 1) ; Toledo (Part 2) ; Toledo (Part 3) ; Toledo (Part 4) ; Toledo (Part 5)