PART ONE: LECTURE

The twelfth century is the great age of Christian-Muslim-Jewish co operation and Toledo is the great center of this cultural exchange.

On May 25, 1085, Alfonso VI of Castile took Toledo and established direct personal control over the Moorish city from which he had been exacting tribute, ending the medieval Taifa's Kingdom of Toledo. This was the first concrete step taken by the combined kingdom of Leon-Castile in the Reconquista by Christian forces. After Castilian conquest, Toledo continued to be a major cultural centre; its Arab libraries were not pillaged, and a translation center was established in which books in Arabic would be translated from Arabic or Hebrew to Spanish by Arab and Jewish scholars, and from Spanish to Latin by Castilian scholars, thus letting long-lost knowledge spread through Christian Europe again. For some time during the 16th century, Toledo served as the capital city of Castile, and the city flourished. However, soon enough the Spanish court was moved, first to Valladolid and then to Madrid, thus letting the city's importance dwindle until the late 20th century, when it became the capital of the autonomous community of Castile-La Mancha. Nevertheless, the economic decline of the city helped to preserve its cultural and architectural heritage. Today, because of this rich heritage, Toledo is one of Spain's foremost cities, receiving thousands of visitors yearly. Toledo's Alcázar (Arabicized Latin word for palace-castle) became renowned in the 19th and 20th centuries as a military academy.

REQUIRED READING

Chris Lowney,

A Vanished World: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Medieval Spain,

Oxford University Press (2006),

ISBN 0195311914

PART TWO: TOLEDO

A visit to the ancient capital of Spain: Toledo.