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Barcelona's Jewish Quarter

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Barcelona's Jewish Quarter

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Basic Information

Location Barcelona, Spain
Country Spain
City Barcelona

General Information

Open to visitors yes
Need appointment no
Handicap accessibility yes
Geographical Coordinates 41.38506,2.1734


Summary

Barcelona is the city of Dali, Gaudi and good food. Barcelona’s ‘Aljama’ Jewish community, was one of the largest of medieval Spain, comprising 10% of the city’s population. After the 1391 attack on the city and 1492 expulsion, all that’s left of Barcelona’s magnificent Jewish heritage is the layout of its streets. For some light hearted relief, the Barcelona Jewish film festival and European Day of Jewish Culture celebrations take place annually, in the city on the first Sunday of September.

General

The Jewish quarter in Barcelona dates back to the 11th century. The quarter contained a street called 'Que Solebat ire ad Callem Judaicum'. The Jewish quarter is also known as the Call, referring to the whole set of streets occupied by the Jews. During this time the municipal authorities had no jurisdiction over the Call as it was directly answerable to the King or the royal bailiffs. From the 14th century, restrictive ordinances for the Jews were issued referring solely to situations or actions outside the Call quarter.

History and time period

During the 11th century, the Call of Barcelona was characterized by a holy community, wise men and prudent princes. However, the situation changed in the 14th and 15th century, as the Jewish Quarter became a ghetto, where the Jews were segregated, occasionally confined to and attacked. In 1079, Barcelona saw a Jewish population of approximately 70 families, and by the 14th century the city was populated with 4000 people. Due to this drastic growth, the district was expanded to form the "Minor Call". The community centered around the synagogue where numerous celebrations, Jewish holidays and feasts were held.

The majority of the Jews in the Call worked as craftsman and artisans as well as doctors, which were often used by the Christian population. The Jewish men also held religious posts as rabbis. It is also worth mentioning that the Jews in the Call became renowned as philosophers, scientists, translators. Much of this work can still be seen today.


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