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Former synagogue. St. Andrew´s Chapel

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Former synagogue. St. Andrew´s Chapel


Basic Information

Location Jaen, Spain
Country Spain
City Jaen
Address Jaen, Spain

General Information

Open to visitors no
Need appointment no
Handicap accessibility no
Geographical Coordinates 37.7709,-3.7931


Everything in the St. Andrew´s Holy Chapel recalls the former synagogue which was here before being converted into a Christian church: from the triumphant Star of David to the very structure of the temple with its magnificent arches which bring to mind the Moslem mosques and its access courtyard, with an entrance via Rostro street. The precious screen which closes the Holy Chapel, the work of the master Bartholomew, is one of the most relevant elements of this Little gem which is situated in the centre of the Jewish district, half way up the slop stretching from the low part to the high part of the city, following the orography of the land.

Notwithstanding, the Jewish affiliation of the chapel is still under discussion. Luis Coronas and Vicente Salvatierra argue against the origin of the chapel being an original synagogue. Their evidence is that St. Andrew´s Church was already there in 1311, a time when the Christian monarchs were still tolerant to the Jews and it is thus unlikely that they would knock down their synagogue to build a new Christian temple, as well as the entry position of the church, outside the limits of the Jewish quarter.

Arguments in favour of the theory of the original synagogue include, inter alia:

  1. The main entrance is much simpler than the other historic churches of the city (synagogues have very simple accesses)
  2. The entry door is not in front of the main altar (synagogues would never have the entry door opposite the temple orientation so that upon leaving it you never turn your back on the Torah)
  3. The temple orientation eastwards; the inner flooring of the temple at a level lower than that of the street (synagogues were usually located below the other Christian temples)
  4. The artistic similarity of the temple layout with the churches of Santa María la Blanca in Toledo and the Corpus Christi Church of Segovia, both original synagogues
  5. The presence of a courtyard which would recall the access courtyards of synagogues.

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