The Jewish House

The Jewish House is in the heart of the Jewish part of Toledo. Two spaces are of particular interest: the courtyard with its variety of carved plaster, and the basement, which was likely used as a mikveh or Jewish purification bath – intended for spiritual purification, or in preparation of an important event in the life of a Jew. During restorations of adjacent rooms, Almagra style hydraulic plastering has been uncovered, as well as a cistern, all of which support the theory about its use.

Another element of archaeological relevance is a wooden piece used as a lintel, which facilitates the access to the basement. Carved with great detail in floral motives using tympanum and volutes, the piece is adorned with an epigraphic repertoire that reads: “Thanks I give you, because you have answered my prayers”; text related to verses 21, salm 18: “Here is the door of Yahveh, through which the righteous come in. 21 thanks I give you, because you have answered my prayers, and it has been my salvation”, which welcomes the congregation to the interior of the house.

Overall the intervention of the Consortium of Toledo unveils a house whose origins date back to the XIV–XV centuries, reminiscent of Mudejar architecture with possible uses in Hebrew purification baths, and several transformations done in subsequent centuries, with emphasis in the XVIII and XIX centuries.

Legend has it that this house belonged to the Jewish Ishaq, who lent money to queen Elisabeth the Catholic in exchange for her jewels, in order to finance the journey where The Americas were discovered.

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