Castellar de la Frontera is a village within a castle surrounded by the walls of a well preserved Moorish-Christian fortress. It is located within the Parque Natural de Los Alcornocales next to a reservoir formed by the Guadarranque River.
The history of the village goes back to prehistoric times and the Bronze Age, after which the place became a medieval fortress. The prehistoric presence is still evident in the many caves around the area, where enthusiasts can see the wonderful cave drawings as proof of its heritage. It played an important role in the wars between the Spanish and the Muslims. In such a high up advantageous strategic position, peoples of many cultures wanted to control this strong vantage point.
The village was conquered and won back between Fernando III, the Moors and then Juan II, who described it as 'such a wonderful, strong town'. After the many battles of medieval times, by October 1650 Teresa María Arias de Saavedra, the Countess of Castellar, took possession of the town and later it was in the hands of the Medinaceli family.
The village was abandoned in the 1970s and its inhabitants moved to the aptly named Nuevo Castellar. The derelict state of the village attracted a number of Germans who took over the empty houses and built temporary dwellings outside the walls. The village was later repopulated.References:
The Erfurt Synagogue was built c. 1094. It is thought to be the oldest synagogue building still standing in Europe. Thanks to the extensive preservation of the original structure, it has a special place in the history of art and architecture and is among the most impressive and highly rated architectural monuments in Erfurt and Thuringia. The synagogue was constructed during the Middle Ages on the via regia, one of the major European trade routes, at the heart of the historical old quarter very close to the Merchants Bridge and the town hall. Many parts of the structure still remain today, including all four thick outer walls, the Romanesque gemel window, the Gothic rose window and the entrance to the synagogue room.
After extensive restoration, the building was reopened in 2009. On display in the exhibition rooms is an collection of medieval treasures discovered during archaeological excavations. This includes 3,140 silver coins, 14 silver ingots, approx. 6,000 works of goldsmithery from the 13th and 14th centuries and an intricately worked wedding ring of the period, of which only two others are known to exist anywhere in the world. A mikveh (Jewish bath) has been excavated close by (13th/14th century). The Old Synagogue, the Small Synagogue and two Jewish cemeteries together form a network of historical buildings and sites which vividly portray the role of Jewish life in the history of Erfurt.