After getting off of the high speed train that brought us from Madrid, we walked up a large hill approaching the ancient city of Toledo. Passing over the fortified bridge and through cavernous streets, we slowly made our way up the winding hill to the heart of the city. Perhaps Toledo’s greatest legacy is its period of convivencia over the course of nearly four centuries. Convivencia describes the peaceful coexistence of Muslims, Jews, and Christians that occurred in Medieval Spain and thrived in Toledo. Because of this coexistence the city contains beautiful mosques, synagogues, and cathedrals. The most impressive of these structures is the Cathedral of Santa Maria, which was consecrated in 587 C.E. and is still used today. Hungry from touring the cathedral, the students received stipends for lunch which allowed them to explore the city and eat on their own. After a few hours of roaming, we all came together to watch local craftsmen make silver and gold wares. Silversmithing being one of Toledo’s other great legacies, we were treated to an impressive array of earings, dishes, swords, and more. Our visit to Toledo gave us a nice break from the hustle and bustle of Madrid and allowed us to explore centuries of Spanish history in one place. Next stop: Barcelona!
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