Friday, April 25, 2008
San Juan de los Reyes
San Juan de los Reyes is a church in Toledo that Ferdinand and Isabella built with the intention of it being the place where they would be interred. (The architect was Juan Guas., according to Wikipedia.com) But when they conquered Granada and expelled the Moors completely from Spain, it was in Granada where they finally chose to be interred, not Toledo. The church in Toledo remains, however, and is located toward the top of the large hill on which Toledo is built. There is a is a little plaza in front of the church, and it overlooks the surrounding area. I stood there and took this video.
As I thought about these monarchs, their great victories but also their expulsions from Spain of the Jews and Moors and the installation of the Inquisition, I began to think of them not so generously. (After all, I am a Democrat.) Then we visited this church. I noticed an odd decorative feature on the outside walls, chains arranged on them hanging down. Carol read about the church from the guidebook, and we were informed that the chains were those of Christians whom Ferdinand and Isabella freed from the Moors when they took Toledo. Ideologically I moved a bit to the right at that point. Reality has a way of moving people in that direction, I think.