MoonJune Music festival Toledo 2023

September 28, 29, 30 and October 1


Old documents describe Toletum in the fourth century BC as the capital of Roman Carpetania. The Alans and the Visigoths, of Iranian and Germanic descent, respectively, settled in the region after the Romans left. There began a period of political and religious splendour, followed by three centuries of decline during Muslim occupation. In 1085, King Alfonso VI ordered that this area, bathed by the river Tagus, be repopulated.
In the second half of the thirteenth century, Alfonso X the Wise turned the city into one of Europe’s major cultural hubs. During his reign, great books on philosophy and theology that had been stored in Islamic and Jewish libraries were recovered and translated at the renowned Toledo School of Translators. Around 12,000 Jews lived in Toledo in those years, where they built a considerable number of synagogues.
The Catholic Monarchs always showed a penchant for Toledo. In 1561, as the city could no longer accommodate so many official bodies, King Philip II moved the Royal Court to Madrid. Following the King’s decision, the city fell into oblivion. With the passing of time, however, the Catholic Church brought it back to life with the foundation of convents and other religious institutions.
The nineteenth century brought to Toledo Romantic artists and writers, considerable population growth, and the railway (1858). Over the second half of the twentieth century, there was another industrial boost and, in the 1980s, Toledo became the capital of the Region of Castile-La Mancha.

La Mancha (Spanish pronunciation: [la ˈmantʃa]) is a natural and historical region in the Spanish provinces of Albacete, Cuenca, Ciudad Real, and Toledo. It is an arid but fertile plateau (610 m or 2000 ft) that stretches from the mountains of Toledo to the western spurs of the Cuenca hills, bordered to the south by the Sierra Morena and to the north by Alcarria. The La Mancha historical comarca constitutes the southern portion of Castilla-La Mancha autonomous community and makes up most of the present-day administrative region.

The name “La Mancha” is probably derived from the Arabic word المنشأ al-mansha, meaning “birthplace” or “fountainhead”. The name of the city of Almansa in Albacete shares that origin. The word mancha in Spanish literally means spot, stain, or patch, but no apparent link exists between this word and the name of the region.

The largest plain in Spain, La Mancha is made up of a plateau averaging 500 to 600 metres in altitude (although it reaches 900 metres in Campo de Montiel and other parts), centering on the province of Ciudad Real. The region is watered by the Guadiana, Jabalón, Záncara, Cigüela, and Júcar rivers.

The climate is cold semi-arid (Köppen BSk), with strong fluctuations. Farming (wheat, barley, oats, sugar beets, wine grapes, olives) and cattle raising are the primary economic activities, but they are severely restricted by the harsh environmental conditions.

La Mancha has always been an important agricultural zone. Viticulture is important in Tomelloso, Alcázar de San Juan, Socuéllamos, Valdepeñas, La Solana and Manzanares, in Ciudad Real and Villarrobledo in Albacete. Other crops include cereals (hence the famous windmills) and saffron. Sheep are raised and bred, providing the famous Manchego cheese, as are goats, including the La Mancha goat, one of the assumed progenitors of the American La Mancha goat.
La Mancha includes one National Park, Las Tablas de Daimiel, and one Natural Park, Las Lagunas de Ruidera.

Famous Spaniards like the cinema directors Pedro Almodóvar and José Luis Cuerda, painters Antonio López and his uncle Antonio López Torres, footballer Andrés Iniesta, music band Angelus Apatrida and actress Sara Montiel were born in La Mancha.

Miguel de Cervantes described La Mancha and its windmills in his two-part 1605/1615 novel Don Quixote de La Mancha. Cervantes was making fun of the region, using a pun; a “mancha” was also a stain, as on one’s honor, and thus an inappropriately named homeland for a dignified knight-errant.[3] Translator John Ormsby believed that Cervantes chose it because it was the most ordinary, prosaic, anti-romantic, and therefore unlikely place from which a chivalrous, romantic hero could originate, making Quixote seem even more absurd. However, ironically, due to the fame of Cervantes’ character, the name of La Mancha came to be associated worldwide with romantic chivalry.

Several film versions of Don Quixote have been filmed largely in La Mancha. However, some, including the 1957 Russian film version, and the screen version of Man of La Mancha, were not. The 1957 film was shot in Crimea, while Man of La Mancha was filmed in Italy. G. W. Pabst’s 1933 version of Cervantes’s novel was shot in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. The 2000 made-for-TV Don Quixote, starring John Lithgow as Don Quixote and Bob Hoskins as Sancho Panza, was shot on several locations in Spain, but not in La Mancha.
In Toledo, time and history go hand in hand with craftsmanship as shown by swords, pottery and damascene ware. Sword and sabre manufacturing is aimed mainly at the tourist market segment, although orders are sometimes placed by armies from around the world.

‘Damascening’ refers to an Arabic decorative craft whereby gold or silver are inlaid into less noble but tougher materials (such as iron, bronze, steel, earthenware or porcelain). It’s used to make rings, bracelets, brooches, plates, etc. The 
Ono tamo from GETTING THERE ne’s streets abound with workshops and outlets turned to small bazaars, their windows filled with black steel objects etched with gold.

The prestige of Toledo’s cuisine is reflected in popular sayings like ‘Cocinero y cochero, tómalos de Toledo’ (‘For your driver and your cook, in Toledo you should look’). There are references to it in Lope de Vega’s play The Toledan Night, written during the Golden Age. Game is no doubt the key to local food, which also takes advantage of top-quality ingredients like olive oil, saffron and garden produce. Deer, wild boar, wood pigeon, turtledove, quail and, of course, red-legged partridge fill the plates of those ready to sample the most traditional dishes.

Also worthy of note are pisto manchego (fried vegetable hash) – made with the best veggies grown in Toledo’s gardens – and pote (peppers with eggs), two dishes that have their roots in La Mancha. However, just as the city itself is a compendium of the most variegated arts, its cuisine has successfully assimilated the Arab legacy in its desserts and pastries, marzipan being a traditional almond-based confection. Many sweets and jams originate in the city’s convents: pestiños (pastry made with flour, white wine, anise liqueur and sugar), ring-shaped rosquillas and square-shaped marquesitas (pastry with almonds, eggs and sugar). All these delicacies are usually washed down with a drop of locally produced wine: Méntrida, Yepes, Quintanar, Ocaña, and the like.

Celebrated since the thirteenth century, the feast of Corpus Christi is the most important holiday in Toledo. Balconies get decorated with shawls, flowers and flags to revere the Monstrance of Arfe, which is carried through the streets. The procession walks along canopied alleyways, and the ground is strewn with rosemary and thyme. The parade includes big-heads and giants, Civil Guards, a processional cross, religious brethren with their banners, children who’ve just received their First Communion, clergymen, the Archbishop, local authorities and the town band.