Everything you need to know about Toledo Cathedral including stories, legends and red hats hanging from the ceiling.
If you are inMadrid for a nice Spanish holiday, you certainly can't avoid a stop inToledo, the old capital. Known as The City of Three Cultures, Toledo stands on a natural promontory and is an enchanting village. Although small, it contains unique treasures that deserve to be seen and admired. ThereCathedral of Santa María of Toledoit's one of them. Considered the masterpiece of the Gothic styleSpain, the Mother Church was built between 1226 and 1493, on the site where the Mosque of Muslim Toledo stood and, even before, the episcopal seat of Visigothic Spain. In the past it was an important ecclesiastical landmark and, after that of Burgos, it is the second largest Gothic cathedral in the country.
HISTORY AND ARCHITECTURE OF THE TOLEDO CATHEDRAL
The Catedral Primada stands in Ayuntamiento square, where the Town Hall and the Archbishop's Palace are located, and with itstwo bell towers he majestically controls everyone from above. The three large portals welcome visitors and tourists on the external façadePuerta del Perdon(middle), Puerta del Juicio Final (right), Puerta del Infierno (left). The Puerta del Perdon is so called because indulgences were once granted to penitents who entered it.
On the top is depicted theVirgin Mary offering a robe to Saint Idelphonsus, patron saint of Toledo. Today Puerta del Perdon remains closed and is only opened on special occasions. In addition to the three central doors, there are eight lateral ones, of which the most famous isPuerta de los Leonescreated by the Flemish Hannequind de Egas. There are two bell towers: one, the one on the left, is 90 meters high and contains the "bell bell”; the other, on the right, remained unfinished and is surmounted by a baroque dome.
Once you enter the Cathedral of Toledo, you will find yourself faced with almost 120 meters of length and a riot of beauty. The interior of the Mother Church is divided into five naves, with a transept and double ambulatory, and the oldest part is that of the choir, in Mudéjar style. It's about theCapilla Mayor, closed by a sixteenth-century reja (cancelled), inside which numerous works of art are kept including the reliefs illustrating the conquest of Granada, biblical episodes and the stone statue Virgen Blanca (White Virgin), with her loving gaze .
Behind the choir retable is locatedThe Transparent, a sculptural work in marble and alabaster, beautiful to admire as it is positioned under an oculus from which a soft light penetrates. In theSacristy(to the left of the ambulatory) you will find important frescoes and paintings by great artists, includingEl Greek (The Despoiling of Christ), Goya (Capture of Christ), Raphael, Titian, Luca Giordano and Bassano el Mozo. The rectangular-shaped room is decorated with frescoes by Vincenzo Carducci. To the west of opens theOchavo, another octagonal room with a beautiful frescoed dome.
Inside the Toledo Cathedral you can't help but notice several on the ceilingred hats hanging by a thread. They are located exactly above the tombs of the cardinals who chose to be buried in this place. It is said that they themselves become Saints every time the hat falls on the floor.
TIMES AND COSTS
The Cathedral of Toledo is open from Monday to Saturday (from 10am to 6.30pm), while on holidays and Sundays from 2pm to 6.30pm. The cost for entry is11 euros.