Frozen in Time – Jewish Life Before the Inquisition

Before the Spanish Inquisition the city of Toledo, like many cities in Spain had a thriving Jewish quarter.

In the decades following the Reconquista in 1492. Jews and Moslems were forced to either convert to Catholicism or leave the country.

The Jews who left went either north to cities such as Amsterdam and Antwerp , east to Venice, Rome and Istanbul or south to Morocco

The synagogues they left behind in Toledo have been beautifully restored but are no longer active. The Synogogue of El Transito houses a historical museum on the Sephardic Jews who lived here.

Synogogue of El Transito
Synogogue of El Transito

The nearby Synogogue of Santa Maria La Blanca was constructed in the 13th century and has a beautiful blend of Mudejar and Nazari architecture.

Synagogue of Santa Maria La Blanca
Synagogue of Santa Maria La Blanca

It is said the blue colours of many buildings in old medinas in Northern Moroccan cities were inspired by escaping Jewish refugees re settling in mellahs ( Jewish quarters) there.

Still 4 Blue walls of a Moroccan kasbah

The blue village of Chaocheouen ,now a popular tourist attraction in the Rif Mountains of northern Morocco , was one such place . It is said it was subsequently cut off for centuries .In the 1930s Jews living there were discovered speaking an ancient and lost medieval Castillian dialect and producing leather goods using old medieval techniques.


Destination – Spain / Morocco / Israel