The Cathedral, El Greco, the Inquisition, marzipan, Visigoths, Majorica pearls, Christians, Muslims, Hebrew, armor, ancient instruments of torture, Alcazar, synagogues, Don Quixote de la Mancha, Sancho Panza, windmills, knightly tournaments, "the City of the three cultures", mosque, UNESCO patrimony, Puente de San Martin, Corpus Christi Festival, Castle of San Servando, Puerta de Sol -these are just some of the beautiful emblems of Toledo.
Among these, special attention deserves the Toledo Cathedral, one of the largest Christian cathedrals in the world, also considered one of the greatest Gothic structures of this kind in Europe. In terms of fidelity to the Gothic style, it is surpassed only by two cathedrals - the Cathedral of Seville and the Cathedral of Milan.
The cathedral has a length of 120 meters and a width of 59 meters. The exterior of the cathedral is to be best appreciated from outside the city or from a higher point, located in the vicinity, such as the Parador Nacional de Turismo. Nearby, it is very difficult to appreciate the size and grandeur of the cathedral, but its beauty is more than obvious. Or, to better understand these dimensions, the pilgrim is required to be inside the cathedral when he wants to observe its true dimension.
The cathedral was built on the site of the former Great Mosque of Toledo, which respectively replaced a Visigoth church. The lengthy construction process (from 1226 until 1493) is reflected in the variety of styles it boasts. Over the years, there have been a series of remarkable events here, including the proclamation of Juana La Loca and her husband, Philip the Handsome, as heirs to the throne of Spain.
The architecture from the beginning of the XIIIth century which can be seen inside the cathedral is inspired from the common structure of Gothic cathedrals in France - for example, Chartres Cathedral. However, the cathedral was personalized with Spanish style, so that the national contribution is considerable as well.
The facade of the cathedral dates back from the fifteenth century, with three Gothic portals carved between 1418 and 1450. The central portal, the Gate of Forgiveness (the Puerta del Perdon), features a relief carved by Juan Aleman representing the Virgin Mary handing a robe to St. Ildefonso, the saint that patronizes Toledo. The roof of the cathedral, which reaches a height of 44.5 meters in the central nave area, is supported by 88 columns. The cathedral is lit by a series of more than 750 stained glass windows. The stained glass windows do not have the same age, some dating from the fourteenth century, and some from the following centuries, XV and XVI. These are the works of the best craftsmen of the time. The northern tower is 90 meters high and was built between 1380 and 1440. Inside it, there is the famous bell named “Campana Gorda”, melted in 1753, weighing 17 tons. The southern Tower was left unfinished and currently houses a Baroque dome.
Inside the cathedral, along its walls there are more than 20 chapels, most of them hosting well-worked graves.