Thursday, July 8, 2010


During our time in Madrid, we took a day trip to Toledo, the ancient capital of Castilla and Leon. Toledo is breathtaking and steeped in history, I wish we had spent more time there. The medieval walls of the city and many of the medieval structures are still present and catching a sight of Toledo seemed like stepping into thirteenth-century Castilla. We saw the cathedral, as well as the two remaining synagogues from the fourteenth century. We went inside Sinagoga del Transito, whose size and opulence astounded me, since I had come to expect an ultra-low-key Jewish presence in Spain, where there is one at all. Case in point, the synagogue I attended during my semester abroad was the first floor of an apartment building, with no markings on the outside door. Anyway, Sinagoga del Transito, was built in the beautiful style of Moorish architecture though decorated with Hebrew lettering as opposed to Arabic. It is now the Museo Sefardi, a museum of artifacts from Sephardi communities not just in Spain, but all over the world. Jewish graves from all over Spain have also been brought there to rest. It is sad that this is the largest body of evidence in all of Spain to suggest the rich Jewish history and culture that once existed there. However, it was very exciting to be able to see it. I could have spent much more time digesting the information available there.

First pictured is the cathedral of Toledo. Next, a house in the Moorish style, then a view of Toledo and surrounding countryside. Finally, the Sinagoga de Santa Maria la Blanca, which was converted into a church.

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