A Gothic behemoth is one of Toledo’s most famous landmarks that has a flamboyant design and houses works by El Greco, Goya and Rubens, among others.
The Toledo Cathedral is not just one of the city’s most recognizable structures, but it is also one of the most iconic in all of Spain. The imposing Gothic icon is full of fascinating features. Stand in awe of the glittering gold and silver monstrance, inspect the intricate carvings of the choir stall, marvel at the mesmerizing stained glass and see precious paintings from famous artists.
The site of the city’s cathedral has long been a place of worship, having been occupied previously by a Visigothic church and a mosque. The current cathedral was mostly constructed in the 13th century. Look closely to find influences from various different architectural styles including Gothic, Mudéjar and Renaissance.
After admiring the towers of the exterior, venture inside through the Puerta del Mollete doorway. The word molette means muffin in Spanish and the name references the fact that food was often given to the poor from this doorway. Inside, explore the spacious interior, which extends to a length of almost 400 feet (120 meters).
See the light cascading in through the cathedral’s stained-glass windows, which date from the 14th through 16th centuries. View the painted sculptures of the altarpiece and the lavish Baroque-style churrigueresque decoration behind the altar. The wooden choir stalls, which have a lower tier carved with scenes depicting the conquest of Granada, is also unmissable. Shield your eyes from the glittering brightness of the Custodia de Arfe, a silver and gold monstrance covered with precious gems, in the corner of the cathedral.
After admiring the main nave, tour the sacristy, where an astonishing collection of treasured artworks is displayed. Survey paintings from famous artists such as Velázquez, Caravaggio, Titian and Raphael among others. Among the highlights here is El Greco's Disrobing of Christ (El Spolio), a powerful picture showing a crowd attempting to remove Christ’s bright red robe in preparation for his death.
The Toledo Cathedral is open daily and admission fees apply. Pay extra to gain access to the upper level of the cathedral’s cloister and to the bell tower, where superb views over Toledo’s historic quarter await. Audio guides are also available.