Beautiful Toledo was the capital from 542 to 725 AD of the Visigothic kingdom which followed the fall of the Roman Empire.
Today it is a vibrant, bustling city full of beautiful architecture and colourful shops.
The city retains plenty of evidence of its long and chequered history, having lived under Roman, Visgoth, Moorish and Spanish rule.
You will see a lot of knives for sale – a common, but rather terrifying souvenir of the city.
That’s because the metal-working industry has historically been Toledo’s economic base, with a great tradition in the manufacturing of swords and knives.
Wikipedia says: “The manufacture of swords in the city of Toledo goes back to Roman times, but it was under Moorish rule and during the Reconquista that Toledo and its guild of sword-makers played a key role. Between the 15th and 17th centuries the Toledo sword-making industry enjoyed a great boom, to the point where its products came to be regarded as the best in Europe. Swords and daggers were made by individual craftsmen, although the sword-makers guild oversaw their quality.”
Aside from blades, the city has a wealth of other traditional souvenirs and sights including detailed tile work and reproduction adverts of flamenco dancers and bull fighters.
The gory tradition of bull fighting still continues although there is growing opposition to this archaic and cruel tradition.
The imposing Alcázar of Toledo below is a stone fortification located in the highest part of Toledo. You can also see examples of the traditional wooden balconies that many of the houses have.
Parts of the city feel like a film set – so perfect that they don’t feel real. Like this little stone shop.