Monday, January 07, 2008

Toledo - the Historic Capital of Castille

Second day in Spain and i get to the real city - Toledo, that has in 30 minutes of train everything that Madrid lacks in history and historic monuments. Mystic, with a touch of the south, full of old rumors of Arabs and Jews, it languishes in its awesome bay despite the rambling tours of excited Russians, annoying American students, and the usual 'click click' Japanese. Court of the Monastero de San Juan de los Reyos, commissioned by the Catholic kings, the perfect couple - Isabella and Ferdinand:

The sights to visit are numerous, and a day is not exactly enough to see everything with serenity. With places such as the Mosque of Christ of Light and the Synagogue of Mary´s Annunciation (only in Spain!!!), one has to do his history homework to enjoy even more the melting pot-pouri of it all. And El Greco, i forget El Greco.

My most memorable memory is probably from visiting the San Juan the Babtist hospital-palace all by myself (picture of its court above). As it is just out of the city limits, it was spared by the crowds. I had the place to myself and my plethora of emotions: Scared in the crypt with that unbelievable acoustic - especially when i tried to move the stones in its middle; Bewildered in front of Greco's Segrada Famillia in the Tavera's small but incredible collection of paintings:

(This is one of his most beautiful Maries, inspired apparently by his own woman's giving birth to his son, the future painter and architect Jorge Manuel, - and some speculations say it is himself that he painted as Joseph on the right); Happy to have a conversation with someone about my discoveries in Prado and elsewhere - a very nice guide i had just for myself.

And the garden-courts - what we call for some reason Italian court back home - used to be in high esteem in Toledo and were created with a thought for the amateur photographers that we all are in this digital age. After my Granada visit, i started to have doubts about their origins as probably they were to some degree influenced by the Mauresque achievements before the catholic kingdom's expansion. Below is the picture of Santa Crus Monastir court - what tranquility, what a feel of serenity and spirituality...not to forget the Marzipans of Toledo, very very good and still produced by the nuns of different abbeys!

And I am forgetting the Cathedral, one of the biggest and richest in Europe, with its statue of Maria Blanca and that strange thing, combining architecture, painting, and sculpture, - the Transparenta - as baroque as one could get - have to see it to believe it! Very good paintings are stored at the Sacristy, as in all of these churches, an incredible Batista by Carravaggio - how did he get in there? - a good Ribera, and that breathtaking captured Christ by Goya...!

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