Considering how old Toledo is, you can almost ask yourself the same question every time you are in front of any of the monuments you find: Since when is this here?
For example, if you arrive at the Cathedral after walking the twisting alleys of Toledo… although what you see was raised more than seven centuries ago, it is nothing more but a continuation, in a certain way, of what preceded it in this same place: a magnificent mosque and, before it, a Visigothic Church. So in the thirteenth century, with Christianity once again in fashion, it was the time to build a Cathedral that also was up to the same standards and importance of the city.
Given the time of the construction and the look of the building, you will say that it is a resounding example of Gothic art, and we will not discuss it with you. However, inside you are going to find something of a much later period which will impress you a lot.
At the head of the Cathedral, there is one of those mystic-visual spectacles that are hard to forget. Up high, a large open hole in the vault allows the outside light to enter, and this light illuminates in full an exuberant sculptural set made of Genoese marble, jasper and bronze. The Transparent, as it is called, is like Baroque drunkenness, and it seems that it has passed the test of time because, although at certain times it was criticised and even hated, today it still leaves us gobsmacked.
All this is the result of a bold project that, in the eighteenth century, they proposed it to illuminate the space behind the main altarpiece. The author was Narciso Tomé, who, helped by his children, tried to recreate what would be the appearance of the entrance door to paradise. The same one that it’s reserved for those who have behaved well in this world. And the truth is that looking at the gigantic eye of light and the grandiosity of Narciso’s composition, you may well think that you are about to pass away.
In addition to this special effects, the monument has many other wonders to give and take, such as tombs of Kings and the Renaissance wrought-ironwork. And others that you can admire in the museum, such as a collection of paintings including works by El Greco, Titian, Van Dyck and Caravaggio.
But the most significant treasure that this cathedral houses is the Monstrance by Enrique de Arfe, made in 1523 at the request of Isabel the Catholic and crafted with the first shipment of gold brought by Christopher Columbus from America.