Historic City of Toledo (1986)

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Successively a Roman municipium, the capital of the Visigothic Kingdom, a fortress of the Emirate of Cordoba, an outpost of the Christian kingdoms fighting the Moors and, in the 16th century, the temporary seat of supreme power under Charles V, Toledo is the repository of more than 2,000 years of history. Its masterpieces are the product of heterogeneous civilizations in an environment where the existence of three major religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – was a major factor. This tolerant cohabitation, which lasted into the Middle Ages, was to leave a profound mark. 

United Nations (Geneva) 2000. World Heritage Site of Toledo, Spain.

The city of Toledo, which is over 18 centuries old, stands on top of a granite hill surrounded on three sides by the gorge of the River Tagus.  

Successively, this ancient city was a Roman town, the capital of the Visigothic kingdom, a stronghold during the emirate of Cordoba and an imperial city in the times of Carlos V.

  • United Nations (Geneva) 2000.  World Heritage Site of Toledo, Spain.


The very design of Toledo is proof in itself of the selfsame plurality that came to manifest itself in the layout of streets and quarters, with its respect for Jewish and Islamic tradition, and in the architecture, Mudejar art in particular, which is a subtle synthesis of the styles, contributions and needs of the three religious communities. 

While Toledo lost its title of capital in 1561, this actually made it possible for the historical heritage of so many centuries of splendour to be conserved almost intact within the city walls.  

  • Spain 1965. The Synagogue of Toledo. 

Spain 1965. The Synagogue of Toledo.

The grand master of painting, El Greco (1541-1614), whose original name was Domenikos Theotokopoulos, has painted this marvelous painting of the city of Toledo in a thunderstorm.  It is the only surviving of his landscape paintings. Do have a close look at the above UN-stamp with a panoramic view of the city, and this painting.  It is amazing to notice the same city, yet with some hundred years of interval between El Greco's painting and the city of our time.  

Greece 1965. El Greco. Self-Portrait.

Greece 1965. El Greco's painted signature.

Greece 1965. El Greco. Toledo in a Thunderstorm (1600-1610).

These stamps are part of a set of five that was issued in commemoration of his 350th death anniversary.

Sources and links: 

Other World Heritage Sites in Spain (on this site). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Spain-section, for further information on the individual properties. 

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Revised 19 jul 2007  
Copyright © 1999 Heindorffhus 
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