Toledo – Casco Histórico – La Juderia – synagogues and a monastery

The next morning I headed for La Juderia, Toledo’s ancient Jewish quarter, where many of the city’s most interesting buildings are located.

You could complete the same loop in half a day. See my previous post for another half day tour. My map with all the places mentioned is here.

First stop was the Sinagoga del Transito founded in 1396. The tourist bracelet I bought yesterday didn’t get me into this ancient synagogue, but it’s definitely worth the €3 entrance fee (in 2018) just to see the beautiful interior.

The stucco decoration of the Ark (the ornamental closet that houses the Torah scrolls) is comparable to that in the Alcazar of Seville and Granada’s Alhambra palaces. Video here.

The synagogue is also the home of the Sephardic museum. There aren’t that many exhibits but the ones on display are beautiful examples of craftsmanship, such as these Torah scrolls.

Just along the road from here is Sinagoga Santa Maria la Blanca, another even more beautiful, former synagogue.

Disputably the oldest synagogue building in Europe, it was built by Muslim architects for Jewish use, and is now owned and maintained by the Catholic church who reconsecrated it as a church later in its life. There’s nothing much to distract you inside except for the stunning structure itself. Video here.

And just a bit further along the same street is the beautiful Monasterio San Juan de Los Reyes, completed in 1504.

My favourite details were the grotesques and chimerae on the ground floor and the gargoyles up on the roof.

There’s also a church attached to the monastery.

Just down the hill at the end of Reyes Católicos Street is the monumental Cambrón Gate, the main gate of the Jewish Quarter.

Next door to the monastery the Escuela de Arte Toledo is much more recent but still interesting for an architecture buff like me.

The Casa y Museo de El Greco is also located in La Juderia but I’d read there aren’t that many of his paintings actually in it (better to go to the Prado in Madrid) and he isn’t particularly to my taste anyway so I swerved it in favour of other sights.

However, I did pop in to the tiny Igelesia de Santo Tome, actually just a single small room, where El Greco’s The Burial of the Count of Orgaz is on display. You can’t take photos but thisis what it looks like.

The tourist bracelet gets you in for free but otherwise I wouldn’t bother paying the entrance fee unless you’re a big El Greco fan. It was busy enough when I went and will be even more so during the high season.

So two posts later and I still haven’t finished putting up my sightseeing photos! The next post will tidy up all the loose ends…

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