Last Saturday, Toledo celebrated its annual Noche Toledana (= Toledanian/Toledanean/Toledan Night, … now if someone would please put me out of my misery and tell me the correct adjective!!!). Historical buildings, museums etc, open up to the general public for the night, entry is free.
Incidentally, the original Noche Toledana featured a ‘celebration’ of quite a different kind. The historical event took place in the year 797, when Toledo, although officially under the rule of the Moors like the rest of Spain, enjoyed the status of an autonomous city. It was jointly governed by the resident Visigoths, Arabs, Hispanic Romans and Jews.
Alhakén I, who was the (Moorish) Governor of Spain at the time, didn’t much like this state of affairs. So, he laid on a ceremony to celebrate the appointment of his newly chosen Governor of Toledo, Amrú, inviting 400 guests carefully selected from Toledo’s ruling elite. During the banquet, he had their throats slit and tossed their heads into a mass grave he had ordered to be dug out earlier on.
The Spanish expression “to have/pass a noche Toledana”, which means to spend the entire night in a fraught state of sleeplessness, is still in common use today. It is certainly true that during the town’s annual Noche Toledana, nobody gets much sleep, there’s just too much great stuff to go and see 🙂
We started our expedition at the Mezquita De Cristo De La Luz (Mosque of the Christ of the Light), two minutes from my house. It is the only mosque that remains from Toledo’s Moorish period, built in 999. It was later turned into a (Christian) church. Virtually all of Toledos’ places of worship have gone through at least one denominational change over the passing centuries.
They lit up the mosque, inside and out, in different colours, and it was all very atmospheric.