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Toledo, Spain

Toledo, Spain (Known places)

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Toledo (Latin: Toletum) is a municipality located in central Spain, 70 km south of Madrid. It is the capital of the province of Toledo and of the autonomous community of Castile-La Mancha. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 (34 years ago) for its extensive cultural and monumental heritage as one of the former capitals of the Spanish Empire and place of coexistence of Christian, Jewish and Moorish cultures. Many famous people and artists were born or lived in Toledo, including Al-Zarqali, Garcilaso de la Vega, Eleanor of Toledo, Alfonso X and El Greco. It was also the place of important historic events such as the Visigothic Councils of Toledo. As of 2007 (13 years ago), the city has a population of 78,618 and an area of 232.1 km2 (89.59 square miles).


Having been populated since the Bronze Age, Toledo (Toletum in Latin) gained relevance during Roman times, being a main commercial and administrative center in the roman province of Tarraconensis. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Toledo served as the capital city of Visigothic Spain, beginning with Liuvigild (Leovigild), and was the capital of Spain until the Moors conquered Iberia in the 8th century.

Under the Caliphate of Cordoba, Toledo enjoyed a golden age. This extensive period is known as La Convivencia, i.e. the co-existence of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Under Arab rule, Toledo was called Tulaytulah (Arabic طليطلة, academically transliterated Ṭulayṭulah). After the fall of the Caliphate, Toledo was the capital city of one of the richest Taifa Muslim kingdoms of Al-Andalus, and, because of its central location in the Iberian Peninsula, Toledo took a central position in the struggles between the Muslim and Christian rulers of northern Spain.

On May 25, 1085 (935 years ago) Alfonso VI of Castile took Toledo and established direct personal control over the Moorish city from which he had been exacting tribute, and ending the mediaeval Taifa's Kingdom of Toledo. This was the first concrete step taken by the combined kingdom of Leon-Castile in the Reconquista by Christian forces. After castilian conquest Toledo remained as a main cultural center; its Arab libraries weren't savaged, and a tag-team translation center was established, in which books in Arabic would be translated from Arabic or Hebrew to Spanish by Arab and Jewish scholars, and from Spanish to Latin by castilian scholars, thus letting the old-lost knowledge spread through Christian Europe again. For some time during the 16th century, Toledo served as the capital city of Castile, and the city flourished. However, soon enough the Spanish court was moved first to Valladolid and then to Madrid, thus letting the city's relevance dwindle till the late 20th century, when it was established as the capital city of the autonomous community of Castile-La Mancha. Nevertheless, the economic decline of the city helped to preseve its cultural and architectural patrimony. Nowadays, because of its rich heritage, Toledo is one of Spain's foremost cities, receiving thousands of visitors yearly.

Toledo's Alcázar (Arabicized Latin word for palace-castle) became renowned in the 19th and 20th centuries as a military academy. At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 (84 years ago) its garrison was famously besieged by Republican forces.

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