Synagogue of El Transito

Toledo, Spain

The Synagogue of El Transito is famous for its rich stucco decoration, which bears comparison with the Alcazar of Seville and the Alhambra palaces in Granada. It was founded as a synagogue by Samuel ha-Levi Abulafia, Treasurer to Peter of Castile, in about 1356. The founder was a member of a family that had served the Castilian kings for several generations and included kabbalists and Torah scholars such as Meir and Todros Abulafia, and another Todros Abulafia who was one of the last poets to write in the Arab-influenced style favored by Jewish poets in twelfth and thirteenth-century Spain.

King Peter probably gave his assent to the building of the synagogue to compensate the Jews of Toledo for destruction that had occurred in 1348, during anti-Jewish riots that accompanied the arrival of the Black Death in Toledo. The founder eventually fell foul of the king and was executed in 1360. The synagogue was converted to a church after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain. The building, which is in a good state of conservation for its age, is currently a museum.

After the expulsion of the city's Jews under the Alhambra decree in 1492, the Synagogue came under the Order of Calatrava, who converted the building into a church serving a priory dedicated to Saint Benedict.

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Details

Founded: c. 1356
Category: Religious sites in Spain

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Alexander Roth (2 years ago)
nice to see in the jewish quater
Nuria Wilson (3 years ago)
Stunning conservation
Heli Rahamim (3 years ago)
Amazing piece of history
Yaron Shahrabani (3 years ago)
Nice place to visit, we took the English audio guide, at a certain point you find it very exhausting. It was very interesting to see the graves with Hebrew inscription on it. The shapes and changes of the building were very noticeable, at the top of large Hall there are still Arabic words (probably Quran). There's a presentation about the Jews in Israel at the women's floor, a very biased and somewhat narrow view of our lives in Israel, not sure what was the purpose of this presentation, it was also shot in the 80s or 90s on some very old screens, we didn't understand the necessity of all this, the visitors don't fully grasp the Israeli experience, I wish they could find a better way to introduce Israel and Judaism.
Charlotte Richards (3 years ago)
Very beautiful museum. It was free after 2pm on Saturday when we went, so there were a lot of people visiting. There were laminated papers wit information for non-Spanish speakers, but it was just for each room and not each item in the room.
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From 1239, Raynaud, the Bishop of Quimper, decided on the building of a new chancel destined to replace that of the Romanesque era. He therefore started, in the far west, the construction of a great Gothic cathedral which would inspire cathedral reconstructions in the Ile de France and would in turn become a place of experimentation from where would later appear ideas adopted by the whole of lower Brittany. The date of 1239 marks the Bishop’s decision and does not imply an immediate start to construction. Observation of the pillar profiles, their bases, the canopies, the fitting of the ribbed vaults of the ambulatory or the alignment of the bays leads us to believe, however, that the construction was spread out over time.

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The 19th century would therefore inherit an almost finished but mutilated building and would devote itself to its renovation according to the tastes and theories of the day.