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Toledo: Excursions

La Mancha Photo
This region, made famous by Cervantes in his "Don Quijote", presents itself exactly as the visitor expects.
In Illescas, located half on the way between Toledo and Madrid (at 35 km from each), we find traces of a very old history, from paleolithic to middle-ages.
The most important monuments are: the Hospital Nuestra Seņora de La Caridad, founded by Cardenal Cisneros. In its interior there are exposed 5 paintings of El Greco; the church Iglesia de Santa Maria, of 13th and 14th century, with its well-known tower called Giraldilla de Sagra; the church Iglesia de las Terciarias, with its Puerta de Ugena, an 11th century Arabian door.

Esquivias was the home-town of Cervantes. Ocaņa is worth a visit because of its Roman remains, its elegant Renaissance palace and its beautiful main square, Plaza Mayor, of 18th century.

Tembleque Photo, very typical in its regional style, offers an original Plaza Mayor, with beautiful galleries, and a church in Renaissance style.

In Quintanar de la Orden you will find loads of those windmills that La Mancha is famous for.
El Toboso is the hometown of Doņa Dulcinea, figure of Cervantes' Don Quijote.

Being dominated by its old fortress and, of course, numerous windmills, Consuegra has to offer great buildings which confirm its historical importance: Convento de las Carmelitas, the churches Los Dolores , San Juan, La Veracruz and Santa Maria, not to forget about the Roman ruins.

Orgaz, of manorial character, has a large Plaza Mayor as well as an ancient Roman bridge.
The Route of the Castles
The province of Toledo has been of great importance during the middle-ages, fact being evident still today by the large number of old castles you can find in this region. To visit the most important of them, start your journey in Guadamur Photo, with one of the most beautiful medieval fortresses of all Spain.

Barciense has a gothic castle, and in Torrijos, the old residential town of Pedro I. the Cruel you will see the Colegiata with its extraordinary plateresque portal.

The castle of Maqueda, of 15th century, was built over an old Arabian fortress. It shows beautiful elements of Mudejar-style. This town was of great strategical importance and so a lot of famous battles were fought here.

In the manorial Escalona Photo, hometown of Infante Don Juan Manuel, there are the ruins of its impressive Alcazar.
The Route of Handicraft
Toledo's crafts have been of high reputation since the middle-ages, not only for the capital's famous swords, but as well for ceramics and textile products.

The ceramics of Talavera de la Reina are celebrated in all Spain for their high artistic value and quality. In the Museum Ruiz de Luna are exposed numerous objects from 15th to 18th century. But the town has to offer great monuments as well: Colegiata de Santa Maria la Mayor, originally built in 1194; the Hermitage Virgen del Prado of 11th century, with its interior walls covered with splendid ceramic tiles; the 14th century church Iglesia de Santiago el Nuevo, a great example of Mudejar-architecture.

Puente del Arzobispo is a small medieval town, also with important ceramics production.

And finally, passing Oropesa, as well of medieval ambience and with an impressive castle, you arrive to Lagartera. The embroideries and laces from here have been part and parcel of a Lady's wardrobe in the past.

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