Toledo Cathedral and Monstrance of Arfe, Toledo

Toledo Cathedral and Monstrance of Arfe, Toledo (must see)

Before the Primatial Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo, another religious structure was on the same spot. Consecrated in the sixth century, in the time of the Visigothic Kingdom, the church was demolished after the Muslim invasion and replaced by a mosque.

Alfonso VI, King of Leon and Castile, reconquered the city in 1085. In 1087, the mosque was seized and converted into a Christian cathedral. Traces of the mosque remain. The minaret is turned into the bell tower. There is an Islamic column in the chapel of Saint Lucy. Caliphate arches appear in the main chapel.

The main facade fronts the Town Hall Square (Plaza del Ayuntamiento) and the Archbishop's Palace. To the left is the bell tower. On the right is the dome of the Mozarabic chapel. The lower part of the tower is squared. The upper part is octagonal and topped by a spire.

The facade has three portals. The Gate of Forgiveness is in the center. The Gate of the Last Judgement is right of the center. The Gate of Hell is on the left. The center portal has one great arch with six Gothic archivolts. In the tympanum, the Virgin offers a chasuble to Saint Ildephonsus. There are five other portals.

The cathedral has five naves with a transept and ambulatory. The vaults are ribbed. The Gothic retable is sumptuously florid. It rises high, covered with delicate scenes culminating in the Crucifixion. The Baroque altarpiece "El Transparente" by Narciso Tome creates the illusion of ascension to Heaven.

In the Chapel of the Treasure is the precious Monstrance of Arfe, created by the master ironworker Enrique de Arfe in 1524. The Monstrance is in the form of a Gothic temple. It has columns, arches, vaults, and 260 statuettes of angels and saints. Finished in silver, gold, and gilded Larchwood, it sits on a hexagonal base.

It has been the custom to grandly parade the Monstrance, in the procession of Corpus Christi, since 565. Some say its furnishings include gold taken from the New World by Columbus.

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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Toledo Cathedral and Monstrance of Arfe on Map

Sight Name: Toledo Cathedral and Monstrance of Arfe
Sight Location: Toledo, Spain (See walking tours in Toledo)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Toledo, Spain

Create Your Own Walk in Toledo

Create Your Own Walk in Toledo

Creating your own self-guided walk in Toledo is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Toledo Introduction Walking Tour

Toledo Introduction Walking Tour

Located on the banks of the Tagus River in Spain, Toledo is called the "City of the Three Cultures." The cultures would be Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. They didn't always get along, but each has left its mark. Romans visited the area as early as 193 BC. Roman historian Livy referred to the city as "a small city, but fortified by location."

In 546, the early...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles
El Greco's Masterpieces

El Greco's Masterpieces

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
Toledo's Ancient Walls, Gates and Bridges

Toledo's Ancient Walls, Gates and Bridges

Other than its signature “Toledo steel”, the Spanish city of Toledo is known for its historic architecture, particularly the ancient mammoth fortifications – a testament to the strength of the city that has maintained its borders for well over a thousand years.

Toledo's soaring walls were first built by the Romans in the 3rd century AD and then further expanded, over the following...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles