Toledo, a sunset and the magical Legend of Abul-Walid

Like every kid, I also enjoy a good story. And this one takes place in the hills that contemplate the city of Toledo, during the XIth century.

Toledo and the story according to the books

Gone were the days of the Romans and the Visigoths and now Toledo was under Muslim rule, since 711, the year in which the “Muslim Conquest of the Iberian Peninsula” took place.

Zocodover Square smelled of cus-cus and spices, and it was the nerve center of a walled medina where everyone entered through huge doors that spoke of centuries of cultural influences.


The night had come and from the minaret of the mosque the Imam called for the salat, the fifth and last of the day, and wherever they were, the faithful knelt on a rug or cloth pointing to Mecca to carry out their prayer, one of the five pillars of the Islamic religion.

It was May 24, 1085, the last night of Arab rule in the city of Toledo. Al-Qadir, king of the Taifa of Toledo, had secretly reached an agreement with the present King of Castile and Leon, Alfonso VI, to give him peacefully the city of Toledo in exchange for being installed on the throne of the Taifa of Valencia.

And so, in spite of the detractors, the Castilian king entered through the Muslim gates to claim the city for Christianity, obtaining the support of the great majority of its inhabitants when promising to respect the different religions and creeds that coexisted in the city.

Toledo and the story according to the legend

The legend tells another story: Al-Qadir never agreed to the peaceful delivery of the city with Alfonso VI. The Castilian king besieged the city from the hills, destroying the countryside, leaving the villagers without supplies. In the face of the constant threat, the Muslim king requested help from the other Taifas of the Iberian peninsula but failed to receive it, either by refusal or because their kings died before coming to his aid.

He had no choice but to cross the strait and seek support from the African kings. It was they who sent the prince and great warrior Abul-Walid, who was received with honors by Al-Qadir as soon as he arrived in Toledo.

What no one expected was that he was going to fell in love with Sobeyha, sister of the Toledo leader. Abul-Walid was at the crossroads of returning to Africa for help or staying in Toledo with his beloved. Duty did more than desire and he came back.

When he returned to Toledo he found a different picture: Alfonso VI had already taken the city and even worse, Sobeyha had died during the siege. It was thus that he was ready to fulfill his promise to return Muslim control to the city and settled on the top of the hill next to his army, waiting for the right moment to attack.

What he did not expect was that a moonless night he would find his death at the hands of the Christian army while they were sleeping in their camp. Respecting his express wish to be buried there in the event of dying in battle, since that day the body of Abul-Walid lies in his tomb at the top of the mountain.

And his soul sits, dazed, watching every sunset, trying to find in the city below the soul of Sobeyha.


City: Toledo, Spain.
Distance from Madrid: 72 kms by the A42 (without toll).
Exact location of the photograph: Mirador del Valle, next to the Kiosko Base. (39 ° 51’02.6 “N 4 ° 01’14.2” W)



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Written by Pie & Pata
Happy is he/she who enjoys family travel.