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Culture of Toledo



The old city is located on a mountaintop with a 150 degree view, surrounded on three sides by a bend in the Tagus River, and contains many historical sites, including the Alcázar, the cathedral (the primate church of Spain), and the Zocodover, a central market place.

From the 4th century to the 16th century about thirty synods were held at Toledo. The earliest, directed against Priscillian, assembled in 400. At the synod of 589 the Visigothic King Reccared declared his conversion from Arianism; the synod of 633 decreed uniformity of liturgy throughout the Visigothic kingdom and took stringent measures against baptized Jews who had relapsed into their former faith. Other councils forbade circumcision, Jewish rites and observance of the Sabbath and festivals. Throughout the seventh century, Jews were flogged, executed, had their property confiscated, were subjected to ruinous taxes, forbidden to trade and, at times, dragged to the baptismal font. The council of 681 assured to the archbishop of Toledo the primacy of Spain. At Guadamur, very close to Toledo, was dug in 1858 the Treasure of Guarrazar, the best example of Visigothic art in Spain.

As nearly one hundred early canons of Toledo found a place in the Decretum Gratiani, they exerted an important influence on the development of ecclesiastical law. The synod of 1565–1566 concerned itself with the execution of the decrees of the Council of Trent; and the last council held at Toledo, 1582–1583, was guided in detail by Philip II.

Toledo was famed for religious tolerance and had large communities of Muslims and Jews until they were expelled from Spain in 1492 (Jews) and 1502 (Muslims). Today's city contains the religious monuments the Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca, the Synagogue of El Transito, Mosque of Cristo de la Luz and the church of San Sebastián dating from before the expulsion, still maintained in good condition. Among Ladino-speaking Sephardi Jews, in their various diasporas,
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