Location on the map of Barcelona & Catalonia (Spain)

Jewish Tours Barcelona. The Gothic Quarter Barcelona (Barri Gòtic)

During centuries, the Iberian Peninsula has been home to prosperous Jewish communities. Even if we don´t know with great accuracy when did Jewish life begun there, there were evidences that date back to the I century A.D. Most of the Jews in Spain were called Sephardic, including those from Portugal, but those living in Catalonia were known by other names.

SPAIN AND JEWISH TRAVEL

History of Barcelona

Spain has an incredibly rich past and Barcelona has a history dating back to Roman times. The city was founded in the year 15 a. C. and in the thousands of years since countless groups of people have called this city home.

Jewish community

Among those groups that have come and gone, the Jewish community played an especially important role in the growth of Barcelona as a cultural and business center on the Mediterranean coast. The city and the region in general would not be the same without that influence.

Jewish Tours in Spain

Jewish history in Barcelona is difficult, with ups and downs, but the story is not over yet. Several congregations still exist within the city today. Bearing this in mind, some Jewish tours of Spain may sound like a very good travel idea.

Visit the Barcelona with Jewish legacy

If you are planning a visit to Barcelona and want to know more about the role that the Jewish people played in shaping this great city, there is plenty to see.

THE GOTHIC QUARTER IN BARCELONA (BARRI GÒTIC)

The Barri Gòtic area is the first choice for many visitors who come to Barcelona. It is the cultural hub of the city and suitable for any type of traveler.

The beautiful neighborhood known as the Gothic Quarter has this name because it was the Roman village and it has some remnants of its glorious past. It is the mix of old and new that brings people from all over the world to visit the Gothic Quarter.

The Gothic quarter has many peaceful squares (plaças) where you can relax and enjoy your surroundings. Nevertheless, one of the main attractions is the huge Cathedral which has a stunning courtyard.

The Gothic Quarter, Barcelona (Spain)

You will be amazed for choice of restaurants and bars, especially around Plaça Reial which is always full day and night. Besides, the night-life in the Gothic Quarter is lively, to say the least, and you will always find somewhere to have a drink or a dance.

Shopping is also amazing in the Gothic Quarter, from the more commercial area of Calle Portal de L’Angel to all the little boutiques on Calle Avinyo. Make sure you walk around to experience all you can, and the Gothic Quarter is perfect for that afternoon stroll.

Consider that you are in the center of the city, and many of the city’s attractions are a walk away.

THE JEWISH QUARTER IN BARCELONA

The Call or Jewish Quarter forms part of what is now the Gothic Quarter. This part of the city was one of the city’s centers of culture in the Middle Ages and home to two synagogues. One of them, the Sinagoga Major, is one of Europe’s oldest, as it is believed to date back to the 6th century.

The Jewish Quarter used to be home for schools, baths and hospitals, but nowadays only a few houses are standing. It was also surrounded by two city walls on the limits of the old Roman settlement. The Jews, however, did not close themselves off from the rest of city as they had houses and workshops outside of these city walls.

In the early 13th century the population had grown so much that the Call Menor, the smaller Jewish quarter, was created. In the present practically nothing remains of it.

The Gothic Quarter, Barcelona (Spain)
The Gothic Quarter, Barcelona (Spain)

The Call Major, the larger Jewish quarter, is home to the Sinagoga Major (or Shlomo ben Aderet Synagogue, as it is also known), after the 13th-century leader of Catalan Judaism, the Rabbi of Barcelona and a banker and later on to kings like James I (the Conqueror). It was the center of Jewish life in the city until the start of the attacks on the community and in 1391, one of these attacks ended with the death of 300 Jews.

In the following years Jewish cemeteries and synagogues were destroyed and Jews were forced to convert to Christianity. Due to the expulsion decreed by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492, the quarter fell into decline and its buildings were converted.

The Sinagoga Major became a dye works and the Sinagoga Menor was transformed into a Trinitarian convent. From that convent only the parish church on Carrer de Ferran dedicated to Saint James remains today.

CATHEDRALS IN BARCELONA

Barcelona is closely associated with Gothic and modernist architecture. Moreover, the La Seu Cathedral and Santa Maria del Mar church provide beautiful examples of the former and Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia a sublime offering of the latter. But the Renaissance is also majestically represented in the Esglesia de Betlem on Las Ramblas, and Romanesque architecture in the church of Sant Pau del Camp.

There are 15 churches and cathedrals in Barcelona, each elegant, and interesting in its own way. Here are 8 that every visitor, religious or not, must see.

The best way to see these works of art is to stay in Barcelona for a few days, to enjoy the surroundings, people and weather, which all together make the city.

Santa María del Pi, Cathedral in Barcelona (Spain)

GOTHIC CATHEDRAL BARCELONA

Barcelona´s Cathedral is the Neo-Gothic church that steeped in legend.

The Gothic Cathedral, Barcelona (Spain)
Your name

Barcelona’s gothic cathedral La Seu is situated in the centre of Barcelona in the Gothic district (Barri Gòtic). Its full name in Catalan is Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia which means Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia. Santa Eulalia was a young virgin who suffered martyrdom during the Roman times. Nowadays she is the patron saint of Barcelona.

It was built

Built between the 13th and 15th century, the Cathedral of Barcelona is one the most popular sites in the Catalonian capital. The cathedral is a striking example of Gothic architecture although the façade, despite its Gothic appearance, is actually a neo-Gothic addition from the late 19th century. The façade of the cathedral is perhaps one the most striking features and was constructed to replace a humbler 14th-century façade.

Symbolism

One of the features of the cathedral for which it is most renowned is its collection of wonderful gargoyles, which come in all shapes and sizes. Aside from the gruesome gargoyles, the cathedral is rich in Catholic symbolism, with references to the Bible and Christian mythology: a treasure for any historian with a keen eye.

When visiting the cathedral, be sure to make your way to the rooftop to admire the cathedral’s ornate spire and the breathtaking view of the city from above.

SALVADOR DALÍ HOUSE MUSEUM. PORTLLIGAT

Another must see objective while making a Jewish tour in Spain is Salvador´s Dali house museum.

The Portlligat house museum was Salvador Dalí’s only fixed abode. He lived and worked in this house until 1982, when Gala died and he moved to Castell de Púbol.

In the Portlligat House Museum, Salvador Dalí framed the Bay of Portlligat from his home: all of the rooms have openings of different shapes, sizes and proportions that frame the landscape.

Using narrow passageways, different levels and enclosed areas, Salvador Dalí created a unique place: a type of labyrinth full of personal objects and souvenirs. Starting in the Rebedor de l’Ós entrance hall and walking through the adjoining areas, the building opens up to the outside via numerous openings which are a constant reminder of this amazing artist and his work, with their different shapes and sizes looking out onto Portlligat Bay.

Since 2009, it has been possible to visit another area in the olive grove. We are talking about a circular construction that the artist used as an additional workshop, particularly for making sculptures and also for performances.

Salvador Dalí's House Museum in Cadaqués (Barcelona)

Photo: Salvador Dali’s House Museum in Portlligat” Wikimedia.org

KOSER TRAVEL VACATIONS IN BARCELONA

Jewish Barcelona

What could be a better destination for a kosher travel to explore the treasures of Europe than to visit Spain and indulge in its rich Jewish heritage? And what can be better for this than the Jewish Barcelona?

Kosher luxury travels

Whether you are looking for an unusual way to celebrate a Jewish Holiday or you just after a unique holiday experience, the Iberian Peninsula has something to offer for every kosher traveler.  From historical sites, restaurants and coffees, kosher luxury travels, film festivals, to the cultural life of Jewish communities, Barcelona has it all!

INSIDE OUT TO THE JEWISH SPAIN

A trip to some Jewish sites in Spain will take you back in time to one of the greatest periods of Jewish history: the Spain of the Golden Age, which produced an abundance of Jewish poets, philosophers, kabbalists, and intellectual giants, such as Maimonides and Judah HaLevi.

The Golden Age came to a brutal end in 1478 with the Spanish Inquisition, which forced hundreds of thousands of Jews to either convert to Christianity or die. The Jewish legacy in Barcelona has no end and our journey will follow the story of the Jews: those who were expelled, those who stayed behind in secret, hiding, and those who live here today. Interested? Begin today!

Other experiences that may be of interest…

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