The Historic City of Toledo is listed on the Official List of Cultural Heritage World Heritage Site of UNESCO since 1986. This distinction is justified in a historical and cultural richness supported by a unique natural environment that has attracted the most important people of the Iberian Peninsula.
The relevance of Toledo is based on the landscape values of a geographic environment characterized by the engagement of the Tagus river, (Rio Tajo) the rich meadows and cultivation areas and the location of the city on a high rocky promontory.
The pass and the confluence of different civilizations in Toledo has generated a melting pot of cultures and a rich heritage unique in the world. In addition, in modern times, the supply of a city open to visitors where you can enjoy a pleasant stay and join the cultural activities taking place both in the city and in the towns of the surroundings.
TOLEDO AND SURROUNDING COUNTIES:
The region of La Sagra, name with arabic etymology that explains its fertility, is extended from the western edge of Madrid to Tajo river in Toledo. On the other side, the region of Torrijos adjoins with the sagra at the west edge. The access to the city by the entrance called “Puerta de Bisagra” is the direct access from the capital to this regions that account more than 2.700 Kms2.
The lands are flat landscapes, softly ondulated, that don’t exceed, or make it slightly, the medium altitude of 600 meters. They are suitable for growing grain and grazing and were deforested since ancient times.
Today the dominant vegetation is an anthropogenic steppe, being the woods reduced to some relictic sets of holm oaks or to leafy banks of some rivers and streams. Also dot the landscape vineyards, olive groves and irrigation.
All this gives to La Sagra and Torrijos enormous seriousness and sobriety landscape which highlights the silhouette of beautiful castles that adorn the horizon and remember the interesting historic events that occurred here.
La comarca de Los Montes de Toledo, se extiende por el centro-sur de la provincia, desde el río Tajo hasta alcanzar el límite con la provincia de Ciudad Real entre el puerto de Los Yébenes al este y termina en Navahermosa al oeste.
The region called “Montes de Toledo”, extends along de center – south area of the province, since Tajo river to the limit with Ciudad Real province, between the port of Los Yébenes (at East) and Navahermosa (at west).
It’s an area that takes progressively and from north to south an increasingly mountainous profile. From an altitude of 500 – 550 meters in the Tajo valley, it pass to the 650 – 700 meters on the granitic plateau of the Montes de toledo and to more than 1000 meters in the Noez peak (1.035 meters) or Layos peak (1.084 meters). These hills announce the entrance at Montes de Toledo, where altitudes over 1.400 meters are exceeded at Corral de Cantos or Peñafiel peak.
It’s a rough region, with mountains and cliffs, in which valleys, “rañas” and hillsides, extends the tipical wildlife of ecosystem called mediterranean forest. Lansdacape is dominated by a forest composed for holm oaks, gall-oaks, cork oaks, and oaks, and labadanum trees or heathers, when these are not present.
Population centers and agricultural activities escape the roughest areas searching for the plain, “nava”, or stay on the hillside. Lands are large estates that conserve spectacular castles and in the past were beekeepers territory and shepherds, hunters and archers.
More information about regions:
THE MIDDLE TAJO, A BET FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.
Traditional shires of Toledo have in the Tajo River its thread and cohesive element. Today the Tajo has become an emblem of environmental claim of these lands and the image of the new sustainable rural development is being promoted in the province. Around it, initiatives such as the Regional Association of the Castles of the Middle Tajo are articulated, in whose territory developes part of Toledo Natura’s ecotourism activities.
The region of Middle Tajo is sharing territory and adds culture and nature from regions of La Sagra, Torrijos and neighbours Montes de Toledo because it lays in an area of gradual change between several different types of possible ecosystems conditioned by the Mediterranean climate. The transition is from north to south, from the steppe to mediterranean forest, that in addition and due to the omnipresent influence of Tajo river, give place to a biodiversity not reproducible in other surroundings with more homogeneus caracteristics.
The Tajo River, deserves here an special mention, resulting in some of the areas with the greatest natural and scenic value as the Natural Monument of “Las Barrancas”, Malpica’s islands or Castrejón reservoir.
It’s not casual that here are present several Red Natura 2000 Sites of the European Union, and are developing initiatives to conciliate the natural resources preservation with the rational and sustainable use of them.
Besides, the Middle Tajo enjoyes great historical, cultural, gastronomic and ethnographic heritage that gives it a significant importance from the point of view of the tourist attractions.
The castles and archaeological sites in the regions of Middle Tajo have a great touristic and historic interest. Concerning the first ones, there are singularly beautiful castles in Escalona, Maqueda, Malpica, Villahermosa, Barcience or Caudilla, integrating the former defensive line of the Tajo. Similarly, the Palaces of the Lordship of Torrijos, of Osuna in La Puebla de Montalbán, Fuensalida or La Torre de Esteban Hambrán, are places that evoke the great medieval historical relevance of these lands. An special mention must be made of the Archaeological Park Carranque (ancient Roman villa) in the northeastern sector and important sites – dating from the Neolithic period – in the plains of the Tajo, with discoveries of bifaces, tools metal, granite boars, etc.
- Aditional Information from the brochure “La Comarca de los Castillos del Medio Tajo”. Edited by the regional Association Castillos del Medio Tajo.
In Almorox town, we must stand out the San Cristobal Church, his “Rollo” of justice and his town hall. Further south we enter the realms of Escalona, to explore its majestic castle, nearby Alberche river, the Plaza Mayor, and some convents, like the Concepcionistas convent, founded by Teresa Enriquez in the sixteenth century. In Escalona we can also enjoy, especially during the summer, pleasant, shaded and well maintained swimming areas.
In Maqueda there are evidences of an ancient Roman fortress and tombs with inscriptions that were found on the Martin Zulema´s meadow. His Castle, the Santa María de los Alcázares Church, the arches and the Caliphate gate of the fortress, the rollo of justice and the Torre de Vela, form a dotted urban design and monumental historical details that speak us that this city, in the past, played an important strategic role. And to all this is added a Feast, related with the Virgen de los Dados. Each year in the Plaza del Castillo, the veneration of this image is realized with a representation of the struggle between the Moors and Christians.
In the south, another very important and historic monumental set will be found in La Puebla de Montalbán, the birthplace of Fernando de Rojas, author of the Tragicomedy of Calisto and Melibea, also known as “La Celestina”.
La Puebla de Montalbán was once the capital of the state called Montalbán, where Montalbán Castle is located (currently in municipality of San Martin de Montalbán) which would include other locations, such as San Martín, Villarejo and Carpio. Belonged to Templar Order, when the King Alfonso VII, donated it to this military order in the XII century, passing in 1308 to the Castilla Kingdom in the reign of the King Fernando IV. In the XVI century passed to the property of the Villena marquis, who donated it to his first-born Alonso Téllez Jirón and their succesors, which since 1573, carry the title of Condes de La Puebla de Montalbán. Currently belongs to the Osuna duchy, so as the Ducal Palace, in the Plaza Mayor.
La Puebla de Montalbán proudly displays its monumental Plaza Mayor declared historic set, with buildings of the XV and XVI centuries, the Palace of the Duchess of Osuna with an interesting plateresca façade in Plaza. Inside, a beautiful coffered Mudejar, Gothic and plateresco style. In the same square, we also find the Nuestra Señora de la Paz Church. One of the most relevant buildings in La Puebla de Montalbán is the San Miguel Tower, the last element remaining of an old church of the XVII century. Equally interesting are San Francisco Church and Convent from sixteenth century, the Monastery of the Conception of plateresco style and Charity Hospital sixteenth century, along with the Shrine of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad, baroque.
Every third week of August, the Celestina Festival is held, with lots of live shows, street theatre, expositions and many other cultural activities for kids and adults.
Moving to the east of the region, we find Fuensalida town, that takes origin in a small mozarab village that grew up and had its own synagogue. In the XV century Fuensalida was already a town, which it’s demonstrated for the possesion of a “rollo” of justice, built during their first decades. The Hermitages of Soledad and San Roque are of a principal interest, so as San Juan Bautista Church and Monastery of the Espíritu Santo. Between civil monuments are relevant the Condes de Fuensalida’s Palace an the “rollo” of justice.
Finally, at northwest of our demarcation we find Méntrida town, with several wines with denomination of origin itself. Their celebrations revolve around the wine and its patron saint, the Virgen de la Natividad, whom the first harvest is offered every year. The Denomination of Origin Wines of Méntrida produces and sells excellent wines, each vintage that have greater relevance. La Virgen de la Natividad witnesses the first crop of grapes, and in his honor too, every April, coinciding with the day of San Marcos, the Pilgrimage of Our Lady of the Nativity is celebrated, declared of Regional Tourist Interest.
More Information: www.diputoledo.es.