Entries Tagged as 'W EUR- SP, Toledo'

Toledo- Sword Makers and Damascene Craftsmen

Have you ever wondered where the swords of the Spanish Conquistadors such as Hernan Cortes and Francisco Pizarro were crafted?  Look no further than Toledo.

How about the swords of Spanish matadors such as Manolete and Carlos Arruza?  Again, Toledo.

I decided on my third day in the city to head for Fabrica Zamorano on Calle Ciudad 19.  This was where master artisan Mariano Zamorano forged some of the best swords in the world.  He was a great guy, and he let me wield replicas Cortes's and Pizarro's swords.  What a treat!  It was one of those travel memories that lives on forever!  What awesome and beautiful weapons!

Then I headed for Damascene Simian on Santa Ursula 6 to watch the Damascene craftsmen at work.  This was the art of hammering thin threads of silver and gold into items such as plates and jewelry.  When finished, the craftsmen have created a work of art, made up of beautiful geometric designs.  Done well, it is absolutely stunning!  See for yourself.



Toledo- Monastery of the Christian Monarchs(San Juan de los Reyes)

On my second day in Toledo, I decided to head over to The Monastery of the Christian Monarchs(San Juan de los Reyes in Spanish) on San Juan de los Reyes 2, which was built to house the remains of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.  After those monarchs took the city of Granada from the Moors, though, it was decided that they would be buried in Granada instead.  Even though that was the case, it was still a beautiful structure, dare I say it, fit for a king.

The exterior of the structure was gothic in style, and was built of dark brown bricks.  There were also several impressive sculptures of members of the Spanish court in 15th century clothing, seemingly waiting for the return of their monarchs from Granada.  Above the entryway to the monastery, there was a fierce carving of an eagle, seeming to say to all of the enemies of the kingdom, "Stand clear!"

I myself was not deterred, and decided to head into the structure's delightfully small church.  The structure was built of smooth white stone, exquisitely carved, and it was a joy to experience.

Last of all, I made for the cloisters, which were also expertly crafted by skilled artisans, featuring bishops, dragons, and lions carved of stone.  My favorite thing to do, though, was to peer at the beautiful blue sky through the palm trees in the middle of the cloisters.  Then off I went, back to my hotel.


Toledo- Medieval Toledo, Toledo Cathedral

Protected by the Tagus River and its formidable city walls, Toledo is the best preserved medieval city in Spain.  It was also the medieval capitol of Spain.  Immortalized by El Greco's painting "The View of Toledo" and Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Pit and Pendulum," it is the stuff of dreams.

As I myself arrived before Toledo, I saw that the only way I could enter the city was through its towering gate.  This accomplished, I made my way through the narrow, winding streets, getting lost not a few times.  Now I knew what it must have been like for Theseus in the Labyrinthe of Minos.  Slowly but surely, I made my way up to the massive Toledo Cathedral on Comercio Street, an astonishingly beautiful gothic structure if there ever was one!

In awe of the structure, I nonetheless entered it, hoping that the interior would be just as impressive as exterior.  It was.  The altarpiece was filled with beautifully carved and painted scenes from the bible, and was dripping with gold.  Also, the ceiling seemed to soar up to the heavens!  I could just imagine what it must have been like to attend a Latin Mass with the Lords and Ladies of Medieval Spain dressed in their Sunday best!

Then, with visions of medieval pageantry in my head, I made my way back to my hotel.