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 Spain Toledo Spiritual Centre of Spain Podtours

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Spiritual centre of Spain

Our audio tour of this hilltop city explores the secrets of Toledo - its Arab and Jewish past, its fine medieval heritage, and the art of one of Spain's greatest painters, El Greco, who made his home here.

Toledo still contains two fine synagogues - Santa Maria del Transito and Santa Maria la Blanca - a rare remnant of Hispanic Jewish culture. We'll meet Samuel ha-Levi, treasurer of Pedro the Cruel of Castile, and the richest man in Spain, who built the Transito as his private synagogue, and examine the multiple meanings of his patronage here.

The Cristo de la Luz, renamed and extended as a church after the Christians took the city from the Arabs in 1085, is a perfect tiny mosque. Our tour shows how the architect makes references to the Great Mosque in Cordoba - though this mosque is tiny, it claims kinship with the single greatest work of Islamic culture in Spain.

And the third faith of the city is represented not just by a number of lovely mudejar churches, but by one of the finest cathedrals in Spain - intriguingly, a work almost totally in a pure French Gothic style. Toledo Cathedral is a treasure house of art, from the middle ages to the Baroque.

We focus on the artistic heritage of the city, particularly the work of El Greco - a maverick talent who took Italian realism and twisted it into a spiritual vision that was utterly individual. But we'll also walk some of the back streets to get a feeling for the medieval fabric of the city.

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