Iglesia de Santo Tome (Church of St. Tom), Toledo

Iglesia de Santo Tome (Church of St. Tom), Toledo (must see)

The Church of Saint Tom, in the historical center of Toledo, was founded by King Alfonso VI of Leon after his siege of the city in 1085. Like many other mosques in the city, it was undamaged at the time. It was easily converted to use as a church. By the 14th century, the building had fallen into neglect and needed a total rebuild.

The church was rebuilt in charge of Gonzalo Ruiz de Toledo, Lord of Orgaz. At the time of his death in 1323, he was mayor of Toledo. He was honored as a generous donor to religious institutions. He restored and rebuilt the edifice and changed the minaret into a bell tower.

The church has three naves in a cruciform layout covered by a barrel vault and a polygonal apse. The largest chapel is a mixture of styles, including Mudéjar and Gothic. The central dome was raised in the shape of the eight-pointed Islamic star, Rub el Hizb. Near the main altar is the door to the bell tower staircase.

The church's chapels have two baroque reredoses (ornamental screens covering the wall at the back of an altar) and a 16th-century baptismal font. The main 19th-century replacement chapel holds the painting "The unbelief of Saint Thomas" by 18th-century artist Vicente Lopez Portana.

Gonzalo Ruiz de Toledo is buried in the Conception Chapel at the foot of the nave on the side of the Epistle. In this land of miracles, El Greco's painting of 1584 portrays a real top-flight Heavenly vision. It is "The Burial of the Count of Orgaz." El Greco's painting is the crowning centerpiece of the Church of Saint Tom.

Saint Stephen and Saint Augustine descend to assist at the funeral before dazzled eyewitnesses. Everyone is included in the massive painting: the artist himself and his son, Jorge, Philip II, Christ, Madonna, and crowds of nobles. The Count of Orgaz is received in Heaven as his armored body is being lowered by the saints into its grave.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Toledo. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Iglesia de Santo Tome (Church of St. Tom) on Map

Sight Name: Iglesia de Santo Tome (Church of St. Tom)
Sight Location: Toledo, Spain (See walking tours in Toledo)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Toledo, Spain

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Create Your Own Walk in Toledo

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El Greco's Masterpieces

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Domnnikos Theotokopoulos, most widely known as El Greco or "The Greek," was a Greek painter, sculptor, and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. El Greco was well ahead of his time. His dramatic and expressionistic style is regarded as a precursor of both Expressionism and Cubism of the 20th century.

El Greco was born in Crete, Greece, and studied painting in Italy. In 1577, he...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles