JEWISH BARCELONA TOUR 1/2 DAY
Tour Duration: 4 Hours
Max. Nº People: 9
Tour Type: Transport Based
Tour Price: Please ask for an updated price
Tour Inclusions: A quality, Jewish private tour for 4 hours and skipping the waiting lines in the sites.
Tour Exclusions: Entrance fees are not included in the tour price.
Jewish Barcelona Tour, aiming on the abundant medieval Jewish heritage to be found in the city’s El Call, strolling across both the Call Major & Call Menor. See the Slomó ben Adret synagogue, one of the oldest in Europe.
Read more about the Jewish Barcelona Tour Half Day
Visit the Major Call and the Minor Call, the Slomó ben Adret Synagogue, the Centre d’Interpretació del Call and some other meaningful remains of the Jewish heritage in a town that was once a European stronghold for the Jewish faith and culture: among other tokens, the medieval kabbalistic Yeshiva (high school), the Disputation of Barcelona or a dozen Haggadot, including the Sarajevo Haggadah or the Barcelona Haggadah.
Although some Jews already settled in the Roman Barcino, at the peak of the Jewish presence in Barcelona (1348), their community reached about 15% of the city’s population. Most of them lived in El Call (pronounced “kaail”): the area, covering some 6 acres, had then five active synagogues and, as opposed to a Ghetto, no closing gates.
In the Major Call, a 12th century Mikwa was transformed into a contemporary shop, although it kept most of its charm intact and can usually be visited. The Slomó ben Adret Synagogue -among the oldest in Europe- is a small museum of the restored medieval Major Synagogue. The Centre d’Interpretació del Call: a tiny, municipal museum is located in what once had been the medieval Yeshiva and, together with Girona and Narbonne, birth place to the medieval Kabbala.
In the Minor Call, also known as Call d’en Sanaüja, you’ll still see the narrow lanes created to host the newcomer Jews from Provence, fleeing the French inquisition in the early 13 hundreds. A narrow, hidden building that had been the lesser Call’s synagogue is nowadays a catholic chapel. Its main backbone, the Carrer Avinyó, was Picasso’s favorite red light street in his early adolescence, while another local painter, Joan Miró, was born just some yards further.
Close by stands the Major Royal Palace of the Crown of Aragon: in 1263, the Jewish-Christian debate known as Disputation of Barcelona took place here between Catalan Rabbi Nachmanides and a convert friar from Provence. Sadly, the palace was transformed by the Catholic kings into the official site of the newly imposed Spanish Inquisition in town, with its coat of arms still posted on its outer walls.
The adjacent Plaça del Rei (King’s Square) is where most horrible Autos de Fe used to take place, ruled by the renowned fundamentalist Dominican monks. Closing the square stands he Lieutenant’s Palace, promoted by Spanish emperor Charles V, partly built with stone materials taken from the medieval Jewish cemetery on Montjuïc (1) and still showing many visible inscriptions in Hebrew on its façade.
The Palau de la Generalitat, the Catalan Government’s palace, was started after the two best Gothic buildings in el Call were “purchased” in 1383 and linked together. Later, some other renaissance enlargements followed the demolition of adjacent former Jewish dwellings and the Sinagoga Poca or small synagogue.
Not far, a beautifully restored market hall, Santa Caterina, stands on the remains of the former homonymous Dominican monastery, pillaged and burnt down by the rioting local folks a decade and a half after the Spanish Inquisition had been abolished in 1820.
(1) Optional: Montjuïc. The medieval Jewish cemetery located on Montjuïc (Catalan for “Jewish mount”) was declared in 2009 Cultural Good of National Interest by the Catalan Government. A funicular ride will take you to the 12 acre historical necropolis where Jewish citizens were buried during 6 centuries (9th to 15th cent.). So far, 728 tombs have been found, overlooking the Mediterranean and oriented towards Jerusalem