6 interesting facts about Toledo that you might not know


“Other Toledos around the world”

There are many cities that share the name Toledo.  Among our international namesakes we can find six cities in the United States, in the states of Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Oregon and Washington, in addition to another seven distributed all over the world, in Belize, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Philippines, Portugal and Uruguay.

Within Spain, we can also find more “Toledos” besides the former imperial capital city.  The provinces of Asturias, Huesca, Orense and Tenerife all have their own Toledo.

Toledo - Belize

Toledo – Belize

Toledo - Colombia

Toledo – Colombia

Toledo - Ontario (Canadá)

Toledo – Ontario (Canadá)

Toledo - Oregón (EEUU)

Toledo – Oregón (EEUU)

Within Spain, we can also find more “Toledos” besides the former imperial capital city.  The provinces of Asturias, Huesca, Orense and Tenerife all have their own Toledo.

When the Council of Canons of the Cathedral of Toledo commissioned El Greco to paint the view of the city, they agreed with the painter on a price of 900 ducats.  When the work was completed, the clerics were not pleased with it, and they refused to pay that amount, offering only 227 ducats.  An appraiser was called in as arbitrator, establishing a price of 317.  El Greco was not satisfied with this decision, so he took justice into his own hands, reproducing the painting several times and thereby reducing its value to the 317 ducats received.

Destino Toledo will take you to see this famous work by El Greco on our  Guided Tours of Toledo.

We share the city Coat of Arms

Charles the V granted the Coat of Arms of Castille to the cityof Tunja (Colombia) in 1541. At that time it was a Spanish colony.  It is the same one that the city of Toledo displayed on its flag until it was modified in 2013.

In addition, in 1939 a flag symbolizing Tunja was created in commemoration of its founding by Spaniards, in green and white, a reminder of the colors of Toledo.

Bandera y Escudo de Tunja

Bandera y Escudo de Tunja (Colombia)

Escudo de Armas de Toledo (hasta el 2013)

Escudo de Armas de Toledo (hasta el 2013)

3,500 pesetas for the San Servando Castle

This beautiful Toledo castle that rises above the Alcantara Bridge was completely abandoned from the 16th century, falling into ruin and being used as a munitions dump.  That’s why in 1873 it was sold at an auction for 3,500 pesetas with the intention of demolishing it.  But thanks to the intervention of the Provincial Commission for Toledo Monuments, it was declared a National Monument, being the first castle in Spain to receive this honor and thus avoiding its demise.

Castillo de San Servando (Toledo)

Castillo de San Servando (Toledo)

 “All-purpose” Zocodover Square

The very central Zocodover Square (from Arabic, sūq ad-dawābb, “beast of burden market”) was originally, as its name implies, an animal market during Hispano-Muslim times.

Plaza de Zocodover (Toledo, 1983)

Plaza de Zocodover (Toledo, 1983)

But throughout history numerous uses have been given to this Toledo square: Bull ring, greasy pole contests during local festivities in the Middle Ages, a site for the Autos-da-fe (burning of heretics) during the Inquisition, the place where public executions were held  . . .

Later, Henry the IV granted the city a weekly market in the square, a tradition that has lasted to the present and was popularly known as “el martes” (Tuesday) alluding to the day it is held.  Some years ago, it was moved to the La Vega park.

Discover all of the secrets of this Toledo square and other corners of the city on our tours of Toledo with official guides.

The origin of Toledo’s marzipan

Monjas mazapan Toledo

Monjas fabricando mazapán en Toledo

Both history and legend tell that the origin of marzipan can be found with the nuns of the San Clemente convent.  Following the battle of Navas de Tolosa in 1212, Castille experienced a severe famine, and there was no wheat to be found in the city.  The sisters, determined to intervene, resorted to the products available in their pantry at the time at the time: almonds and sugar.

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