Castile Tours, Vacation Packages & Travel Experiences
Toledo, 70 kilometres/44 miles south of Madrid, is a fortified walled city and has UNESCO World Heritage status. Located on a hill, once you step inside, it is like going back in time. It is also one of the Spanish cities with a large selection of monuments. It is known as the “City of the Three Cultures” because Christians, Arabs and Jews lived together there for centuries. In Toledo, there are churches, palaces, fortresses, mosques and synagogues. One name which is synonymous with the city is the painter, El Greco. His house, also a museum, houses exhibits of some of his greatest works. An outstanding building is the Gothic Cathedral which, although its structure dates back to the 13th Century, was not finished until the 15th Century. Inside the Cathedral are works by well-known painters including Goya, El Greco and Van Dyck. The Mosque of Cristo de la Luz, built in 999 AD, is an unusual building as it is pretty well in the same state as it was when it was originally built. The Synagogue of El Transito is a historic building famous for its rich stucco decoration and has been compared to the Alcazar in Seville and the Alhambra Palace in Granada. Another outstanding edifice is the Monastery of San Juan de l.os Reyes founded by King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile in 1476. The Alcazar of Toledo is a huge and impressive stone fortification located in the highest part of the city which now houses the Army Museum.
The old city of Segovia, 90 kilometres/56 miles north-west of Madrid, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site to be experienced on trips tp Spain due to its many historic buildings including a large number of Jewish origin, notably in the old Jewish Quarter. One of the most important is the Jewish cemetery, El Pinarillo. The Roman-built Aqueduct of Segovia dates back to the late 1st Century AD and is considered an extraordinary engineering feat. It is still used to deliver drinking water. The Alcazar of Segovia, a royal palace built on a stone peninsula between two rivers, dating back to 1122 AD, was the residence of the Kings of Castile. Segovia Cathedral was the last Gothic cathedral built in Spain and is considered a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. The Walls of Segovia, built mainly of granite blocks, encircle the historic quarter.
Avila, 107 kilometres/66 miles north-west of Madrid, is another amazing UNESCO World Heritage city on a trip to Spain which, once inside its well-preserved walls, takes you back in time. The walls are actually the best preserved in Spain with 8 monumental gates, 88 watchtowers and more than 2500 turrets. In Avila are Romanesque churches, medieval convents and Renaissance palaces. Many families of nobility settled here. The Cathedral of San Salvador is Spain’s oldest Gothic cathedral built into the city wall and completed in the 14th Century. Other notable landmarks are the Convent of Saint Theresa founded in 1636, the Dominican monastery of Santo Tomas, housing some exceptional artifacts and the Basilica of San Vicente, a Romanesque church built in the 12th Century. The Barrio Judio (Jewish Quarter) was where the influential Jewish community used to live during the Middle Ages.
Aranjuez, 42 kilometres/26 miles south of Madrid, once again, is a UNESCO World Heritage site with its old quarter, royal palaces and numerous attractive gardens. The Royal Palace of Aranjuez was built in the 18th Century and is impressive with its spectacular exterior and rich interior plus it has extensive attractive gardens. Some other important places are the Botanical Gardens, the Royal Barge Museum with its excellent collection of Spanish boats belonging to Royalty, the Casa del Labrador House built in Neoclassical style containing furniture and decorations from different periods and the San Antonio Church, circular in design with a marked Italian influence and crowned by a remarkable dome.
El Escorial is a historical residence of the King of Spain in the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, about 45 kilometres/28 miles north-west of Madrid. It functions as a monastery, basilica, royal palace, pantheon, library, museum, university and hospital. El Escorial consists of two architectural complexes of great historical and cultural significance. They are the royal monastery itself and La Granjilla de La Fresneda, a royal hunting lodge and monastic retreat. El Escorial was once, at the same time, a monastery and a Spanish royal palace, something special on Spain hoildays.
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- 11 Days
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