Madrid and Toledo 


These two very different cities are rich in buildings, paintings, history and personalities.  Toledo, once the capital of Visigothic Spain, became an important city in medieval times where Christians, Jews and Muslims co-existed.  There is a tiny former mosque, two medieval synagogues, the Cathedral, and the great late 15th century church of San Juan de los Reyes built in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella. Toledo was also the adopted home of El Greco, and some of his greatest paintings are still there.  The vibrant city of Madrid became the capital of Spain in 1561, and has many imposing Habsburg and Bourbon landmarks.  Amongst them are the Plaza Mayor, the Royal Palace, the convent of the Descalzas Reales, and the church of San Antonio de la Florida, with its Goya frescoes. There are paintings by the great Spanish painters – El Greco, Velázquez, Zurbarán, Murillo, Goya – in the Prado Museum, the Thyssen Collection, and the Royal Academy of San Fernando, and Picasso’s Guernica in the Reina Sofia Collection.