SPAIN: Jewish historic sites

Old Aug 11th, 2001, 06:52 PM
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SPAIN: Jewish historic sites

We will be in Madird and the areas to the south of Madrid and would welcome ideas about places of interest to Jews. We would like to see old synagogues, etc.
Old Aug 11th, 2001, 07:42 PM
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Hi Joan, I haven't been to Spain, but am studying up on it as we are seriously thinking about it for next summers trip. From what I've read so far the cities that have the most jewish history are Toledo, which is about an hour from Madrid and then Cordoba and Granada, which are in southern Spain. Hop this helps you a bit. Good luck!
Old Aug 11th, 2001, 08:30 PM
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Sorry, but we haven't been to Spain. What I have done for other countries we've visited is to write the Tourist Office and see if they ofer special Jewish places of interest. I also have a copy of "A Travel Guide to Jewish Europe" by Ben Frank, it is a good book to use for assistance
Old Aug 11th, 2001, 09:16 PM
Marc David Miller
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You can see an ok list at

also a description of Jewish Toledo

and a particularly good site


The Jews of Spain : A History of the Sephardic Experience
by Jane S. Gerber

(although I have not read it).

I was in Toledo and Cordoba last year and rememberd many Jewish-related sites. I also remembered a guide describing how "the Jews had to leave in 1492" without any irony in her voice.
Old Aug 11th, 2001, 09:40 PM
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Joan, the best sites are in Toledo and Cordoba, and to a lesser extent Seville, although there is a significant Jewish legacy in many other cities, particularly in the south of Spain and Andalucia. We found the Toledo synagogues the most compelling, the Cordoba and Seville monuments more disturbing because of the matter-of-fact way the Jewish legacy in pre-1492 Spain was dismissed and made the stuff of minor history. Just our impressions, of course.

Please, if you can, before you go read "The Mezuzah in the Madonna's Foot" by Trudy Alexy (available at - a riveting personal history of the legacy of Jewish life in Spain, made modern through her discussions of the surprising role played by Spain (even Franco) in the escape of Jews during the Holocaust; and also her description of "crypto-Jews" and the history of the conversos and other secret Jews in Spain and the new world. Absolutely fascinating book, praised by the King of Spain.
Old Aug 12th, 2001, 01:33 AM
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We're planning a trip to Spain so have done some reading on various topics.
Toledo, Cordoba and Seville seem to have areas of Jewish interest. From what I understand there are only 3 Synagogues left in Spain. They are in Toledo and Cordoba.
Old Aug 12th, 2001, 03:12 AM
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Yes, that is true. The best places for that are Toledo and Córdoba. Also Sevilla and Granada ofer things for you, in fact, the whole south (Andalucía).

And there is a lesson for today's matters. I mean the three cultures living all together in Spain, mainly during the 'Reconquista'. This cultures were Cristianism, Jews and Moorsh.
Two samples of it are 'La Escuela de Traductores de Toledo' (Translators School in Toledo) wich was the first in the world, and the neighborhood in Córdoba between the 'Mezquita' (with the Christian Cathdral inside) and the 'Judería' (the old Jews zone wich is incredible beautifull).

The Jews left Spain in 1492 because of an order by the 'Reyes Católicos' after the fallen of Granada (from the 'Moros'). The main reason for that was the money, and it was a bad decission for the Spanish monarchs. The people who had the money were Jews, and they knew what to do with it, but the new Kingdom of Spain didn't... (let me know if you want more details about this).

Sure you'll enjoy.
Old Aug 12th, 2001, 03:25 AM
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I would point out at Toledo and Cordoba as the best references among Jewish culture in Spain. Either Synagogue of Transito or Synagogue of Santa Maria la Blanca in Toledo are perfect examples of old temples. There are also old headquarters remain of those times along many villages in Spain as in Hervás (Caceres), Girona or Sevilla.

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