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Knights of Calatrava Convent-Sephardi Museum

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Knights of Calatrava Convent-Sephardi Museum


Basic Information

Location Toledo, Spain
Country Spain
City Toledo
Address Toledo, Spain

General Information

Open to visitors no
Need appointment no
Handicap accessibility no
Geographical Coordinates 39.8556,-4.0296


The Sephardi Museum in the city of Toledo occupies the site of the Knights of Calatrava Convent, annexed to the Tránsito Synagogue. It is the National Museum of Hispano-Jewish and Sephardi Art and it accommodates a large amount of traces of the Jewish culture.

The Sephardi Museum is made up of five rooms which display disappeared, religious and local customs and manners aspects of the Jewish past in Spain as well as of the Sephardis.

The rooms adjoining the synagogue and the restored courtyard today house displays of the uninterrupted Jewish presence in Spain since time immemorial as well as elements of the Sephardi culture, in other words, of the Spanish Jews spread around the world after their expulsion in 1492.

The northern courtyard displays, by way of a necropolis, some of the tomb headstones with Hebrew inscriptions conserved at the museum. They were previously on show inside the building, but in the latest remodelling they were displayed outside, thereby going to make up a Jardín de la Memoria (Garden of Memory) which is also converted into a rest area.

The material deployed to make the headstones varies in line with the place of origin. The marble ones, less common, are prevalent in Castile and León; the limestone and sandstone ones, easier to work on, are the most frequent and are particularly common in all the necropolises of Girona and Barcelona. In Toledo the predominant material is granite, though there is no lack of epitaphs made of the previous materials; the museum has a headstone made of baked clay.

At the eastern courtyard an array of bronze sculptures are on display by contemporary artists (Martina Lasry and David Aronson) as well as a slate headstone of a Calatravan knight from the 16th century. The courtyard serves as a link between the lower rooms of the museum and the Women´s Gallery. Excavations carried out under the ground have brought to light various rooms identified as water tanks or rainwater tanks.

The old Women´s gallery is dedicated to the life and festive cycles and other expressions of Sephardi culture.

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