In the heart of Toledo sits the museum of Santa Cruz, one of the city’s most popular institutions for the performing arts, history, culture, and archeology. Located in its namesake is the former renaissance era Santa Clara hospital designed with a plateresque façade, a cloister and a palace staircase, the hospital founded by Cardinal Pedro González de Mendoza as both an orphanage and general hospital. The museum is split into three sections: Archeology; which has expositions of Roman, Visigothic, Moorish, and Mudejar periods of Spanish history, the fine arts; which holds collections of 16th-17th century paintings of which several are painted by El Greco, most notable “the assumption of the virgin,” traditional local arts and crafts are also featured.
For those interested in Spain’s military history Toledo is home to Spain’s Museo del Ejército or the “Museum of the Army” in english. Located in two major buildings but with the primary exhibits located in the Alcazar, a former Roman palace renovated by Charles I and fortification during the Republican siege of Toledo in 1936. After the war the Alcazar was renovated, like most of the city, and would be turned into the museum seen today and is divided into two sections with two floors each. The first section holds the museum’s “Thematic Itinerary” which displays the history of the building, collections of historical artifacts (photographs, uniforms, flags, weapons, etc), the history of artillery and more. The third and fourth floors hold the “historical tour” which covers the periods of Spanish history between 1492-1843 (floor 3) as well as portions of the Alcazar itself notably the Charles V courtyard, the spiral and imperial staircases and colonel Moscardo’s office. On the fourth floor the Imperial chapel and exhibitions showcasing the periods from the Liberal state to the 20th century. The second building or the “new building” holds the museum’s temporary exhibits, the Alcazar’s archaeological site, the museum’s storage and offices. For those interested in internships or working abroad at the Museum the new building will likely be your best bet to apply.
The spice Saffron also plays an important role in Toledo’s food. Saffron is virtually found everywhere in Toledo in its original flower form to be the keystone of paella (spanish rice with saffron, vegetables, chicken, and seafood). The spice plays such an important part to the region’s cooking that an entire festival, normally around late October, is made in honor of its significance in nearby Consuegra. Not only is the festival an interesting cultural exposition with music and food as well as a saffron rose harvesting competition where those involved have to pick as many flowers as possible in the least amount of time.