Once the capital of Spain, Toledo is a cultural goldmine. Because of its close proximity and it´s rich history, Toledo is a ¨must do¨ for every TEFL teacher in Madrid. Having been around since the Bronze Age, Toledo is a living timeline of a plethora of cultures which ruled over hundreds of years. Examples can mainly be seen in the architecture but also in the food and traditions of the people today.
Toledo is easily accessible by car, train, and bus.
- You can take the R-5 and AP-41 to get to Toledo. The trip takes about one hour and both roads are toll roads so make sure to bring small bills!
- You can catch the highspeed train from Atocha. It is the quickest way to get to Toledo, the trip only taking 33 minutes. Fares are just over 11€ one way and discounts may be available to travelers under the age of 26. Find out more at : http://www.renfe.com/viajeros/index.html
- Buses leave Plaza Eliptica in Madrid every half hour and trips range from 1 hour to 1.5 hours. Fares are around 9€ roundtrip. Find out more at: http://alsa.es
There are many things to do and see in Toledo. If you’re looking for lesson plan material you should begin with touring the sites of the city’s three historical religions; Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
The Roman Catholic Cathedral of Toledo is considered by many to be the best example of High Gothic architecture in Spain. Depending on how much of the Cathedral you want to see, tickets range from 7€-10€ and for a small additional price you can purchase an audio guide in a variety of languages.
The Sinagoga del Tránsito, built in the 14 century, has been, at different times, been known as a synagogue, a christian church, and a hermitage. Tickets are only 3€ and entry is free on May 18th, Oct. 12th & Dec. 6th.
The Mezquita de Cristo de la Luz built in 390 is one of the oldest buildings in the city. Legend has it that when King Alfonso VI conquered Toledo in 1085 he stopped in front of the mosque and his horse knelt before the door. A shaft of light appeared and led the King to a crucifix which had been hidden for centuries. The king then left his shield there with an inscription which stated, “This is the shield which the King Alfonso VI left in this chapel when he conquered Toledo, and the first mass was held here”. Tickets are 8€.
On your way to these places you are sure to stumble upon many other interesting things in the city, such as Marzipan, Swords, and artwork by El Greco. Because there is so much to see and do, you will definitely be busy all day! My tip for you is to plan to see a few things but leave a few hours open to relax and just absorb everything around you!
Contributing Writer: Monica Bixby