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Toledo, the capital of the province of Toledo and of the autonomous community of Castile-La Mancha, has been famed for religious tolerance throughout its existence.
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986, thanks to its extensive cultural and monumental heritage, Toledo is probably one of the most spectacular cities in the world. The buildings and the narrow streets within the old city walls still reflect an ancient history dating back to the Bronze Age,
while the River Tajo which runs alongside the city walls adds to its charm and beauty.
During the Middle Ages, the city was home to large communities of Jews, Muslims, and Christians, who lived and worked together in harmony. This confluence of cultures and the resulting spirit of religious and ethnic tolerance came to define the picturesque city of Toledo as a place of great diversity and cooperation.
Toledo's Jewish community in the 12th and 13th century was the largest and most prosperous in the Kingdom of Castile, until they were expelled from Spain in 1492. It was not until the late 19th century that Jews started to return to the area and revive the community again.
From the beginning of World War II, the “Laws regulating their admittance were written and mostly ignored,” enabling many Jews, fleeing deportation to concentration camps from France and Eastern Europe, to find refuge in Spain.
Although Toledo has no active community today, it is one of the few towns in Spain where remnants of Jewish edifices were preserved over the centuries of expulsion. Toward the close of the 15th century, records of the Toledo community list 10 synagogues and 5 Batei Midrash. Toledo also has many remnants of Jewish tombstones, some of which are preserved in the archaeological museum of the town.
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