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The Berrocal Cemetery

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The Berrocal Cemetery


Basic Information

Location Plasencia, Spain
Country Spain
City Plasencia
Address Plasencia, Spain

General Information

Open to visitors no
Need appointment no
Handicap accessibility no
Geographical Coordinates 40.0312,-6.0949


From the gardens of the Parador there is a magnificent view of the Berrocal, the promontory where the Jewish cemetery was located. As Friar A. Fernández says, the cemetery limits «con los exidos e tierras concejiles desta cibdad» without reaching the River Jerte nor the San Lázaro bridge.

The Berrocal is located opposite the Jewish quarter of Plasencia, with direct access via the Berrozana Gate, to avoid crossing the spaces occupied by Christians.

As from the foundation of Plasencia, the references to the Jewish quarter and to the Jewish cemetery are constant, at least between the 12th and 15th centuries. However, the majority of documents referring to the Berrocal are dated during the course of the expulsion of the Jews which culminates in 1492.Numerous historic sources refer to the sale of the cemetery by the aljama of Plasencia by Yuçé Caçes to the Dean of the cathedral, Don Diego de Jerez for 400 silver reales on May 21st 1492. The deed details the sale of:

Los honsarios de los judios de la dicha aljama asy viejos como nuevos que tenemos y la dicha aljama tiene en el Berrocal desta çibdad, con toda la piedra e canteria que en ellos esta e en cada vno dellos labrada y por labrar, asy sobre las sepolturas e burials que esta en los dichos honsarios.</blockquote</p> <p>On the same day May 21st don Yuçé Castaño makes a public reading of the contract of sale and donation before the four vendors of the aljama, in addition to don Mayr Cohen, Master Moses, Gabriel Moxudo, the scribe Rabbi Abrahan, Yuçé and Sento Haravon, Abrahan Caçes, Rabbi Yuçé Abenabibe and many other Jews of the aljama, stressing that the real value of the graveyards and stone materials:
Son en mayor suma e cantidad que no es el valor de la tal demasya de los dichos quatroçientos reales [de plata] lo qual nos asy conosçemos, cuya propiedad incluye toda la piedra dellos e canteria labrada e por labrar e con su tierra e sitios deslindados.
                      In 1496 the dean Diego de Jerez sells the cemetery to the city to which, says Friar A. Fernández, its revenue from pasture and farming are worth a good sum of money. In 1510 the Jewish cemetery forms part of the fallow land of the Town hall
A description of the condition the Jewish cemetery was in can be found thanks to A. Matías Gil in 1877:
Hoy mismo pueden verse unos veinte y tantos [sepulcros] abiertos y agrupados... presentando la forma del cuerpo humano envuelto en el sudario hebreo; son una caja abierta desde los pies á los hombros en la forma de ataud, y otra caja abierta en la misma piedra y unida á la anterior recibia la cabeza del cadaver, que luego se cerraba con una losa que cubria este deposito para lo que tenia sus rebajes en todo el borde.</blockquote

</p> <p>The headstones which covered some tombs were granted or bought by private individuals who mainly used them in construction. Once the site had been cleared and with the passage of time, almost nothing remained visible on the surface except for the memory of that place which had been the Jews´ cemetery.</p> <p> The cemetery, musealized and opened to the public in September 2009, has enhanced this historic site which is unique in the autonomous community of Extremadura where some anthropomorphous tombs can be seen </p>

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