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Old Call

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Old Call


Basic Information

Location Tortosa, Spain
Country Spain
City Tortosa
Address Tortosa, Spain

General Information

Open to visitors no
Need appointment no
Handicap accessibility no
Geographical Coordinates 40.8177,0.52424


Inmaculada square situated at the feet of the Suda castle constitutes the entry gate to the Jewish quarter of Tortosa, divided into two parts by Major de Remolins street which runs in a south-north direction and which leaves behind on the left the call vell and on the right the call nou. The Old Jewish quarter emerges after the conquest of the city from the Moslems by count Ramón Berenguer IV in 1148 who donated the former Arab dockyards to the Jews for the construction of sixty houses. During Moslem domination, the border status of Turtuxa vis-à-vis the Christian kingdoms meant that the enjoyed great prosperity in which the Jews played a major role.

The Jews already lived inside the walls of the city during the time of the Islamic occupation of Tortosa, a situation which did not change after the Christian conquest; its enclosure went from the current Tió Noé street to Barranco del Célio street. Of the original Call we only conserve the layout of the streets and the Gate of the Jews. They lived a stone´s throw away from the most commercially active area alongside the port as befitted the so-called transmarini negotiatores or driving forces behind overseas´ trade by means of a major network of Jewish families and interests, the specific infrastructure of its unique diaspora. Commercial activity meant for the Jews of Tortosa a source of wealth, occupation and influence. They not dealt with transactions with distant overseas places, both in the trade of gold and in that of slaves and prisoners of war: it seems that by way of livestock dealers there was a major flow from Tortosa of these unfortunates, a task commissioned to the Jews owing to their medical knowledge, in particular as regards the awarding of eunuchs, slaves converted into the latter by Jewish doctors commissioned to castrate male staff earmarked for harems.

Esplanada streets starts around the Old Jewish quarter which, after leaving behind it on the left Travesía dʼen Fortó, gives out onto Jaume Tió Noé street which sets the southern limit of the district. Where both streets cross, the arch of Explanada street constitutes one of the traditional entrances into the Jewish district.

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