The World Heritage cities of Ávila, Segovia, Toledo, Cáceres and Cordoba are part of the Jewish Quarter Network of Spain since they are home to a major Hebrew cultural legacy. The splendour of the famous Cordoba Synagogue, the impressive Tránsito Synagogue in Toledo (and its Sephardic Museum), the irregular layout of the streets and houses still preserving the old quarters of Ávila and Cáceres or the Jewish Quarter Learning Centre in Segovia are fine examples of this. Strolling around these cities is a true encounter with the past.
The city is home to several examples of Jewish presence there. For example, in Reyes Católicos Street much of the old Rabbi’s house is preserved and currently functions as a hotel. In turn, in Plaza del Pocillo there is a house which was a synagogue in the 15th century. This area, up to El Adaja Gate, is the city’s Jewish Quarter. The irregular layout of typical Jewish streets can be seen here. Behind La Malaventura Gate is Mosé de León’s garden, the author of the ‘Zohar’. In turn, the suburbs of San Segundo and El Puente were industrial areas where Jews worked.
The Jewish Quarter lies under the protection of the city walls and is located in the lowest and steepest area. The main building is the Shrine of Saint Anthony, a former synagogue site. In addition there is the new Jewish Quarter which began to take shape in 1478, when all Jews were ordered to move to a single district in the outskirts of the city. The area has a regular layout with recently built houses. Only at the start of this area is there a covered section where rooms with balconies leading to the outside sit.
Alongside Moorish domination, Sephardic Judaism resurfaced strongly in Cordoba in the 10th-12th centuries. There are many monuments in the city where their presence can be seen, mainly in the Synagogue (the only one in Andalusia), the Christian Monarchs’ Castle, the statue of the philosopher Maimonides (RAMBAM) or in Hasday Ibn Shaprut Street. After the Christian conquest, the Jewish population stayed in the city, occupying the traditional quarter from the Arabic period – the Jewish Quarter. This was separated from the rest of the city by a walled complex and would today coincide with streets such as Judíos (where the synagogue is located), Tomás Conde, Romero or Averroes and with the squares of Cardenal Salazar, Judá Leví and Maimónides.
The Jewish Quarter is a mediaeval neighbourhood located to the south of the walled enclosure. A stroll through it could start from Plaza del Corpus Christi, where the Former Main Synagogue is located. Afterwards, the Jewish Quarter Learning Centre is worth as visit, being the perfect place to uncover the legacy of the Hebrew community. Continue to La Muralla Visitor Centre located at San Andrés Gate. Here there is a passable wall section which makes for an interesting stroll along the parapet. Here visitors get marvellous views out over the Jewish Quarter and the cemetery. The Jewish necropolis is undoubtedly one of the most important vestiges of Jewish presence in Segovia.
The Jewish Quarter was located in the district of San Martín, between El Cambrón Gate and the Tagus River. It was a network of walls and narrow streets closed off by doors, with streets linking the different areas in the Quarter and to the rest of the city.
Key places to visit include the Tránsito Synagogue (housing the Sephardic Museum), the exceptional Santa María la Blanca Synagogue, the Palace of Samuel Ha-Levi (today the El Greco Museum), Santa Cruz Museum (housing Hebrew tombs), La Judería Street and El Cambrón Gate.