Sinagogue of Transito

The building is itself a synthesis of three cultures and an example of the then traditional assimilation of local architecture by Jewish communities. The structure is simple and obeys the basic needs of its spiritual life, with the niche in the holy wall, the “hekal” and the women’s gallery.

The Great Reading Chamber is a gothic palace style hall, decorated with very rich plaster mouldings belonging to Islamic art from Cordoba, whose head bears a Almohade polylobate triple arch, to store the sacred texts. This is covered by an impresive coffered collar-beam ceiling.

The complex decoration combines vegetable elements with geometric ones, Hebrew inscriptions and repeated coats of arms of the Castile king. Both the plaster mouldings and the ceiling partly retain the original medieval colouring. Light enters the hall filtered through lattices.

It was founded due to Samuel Leví and to the special dispensation of the king Pedro I of Castile, grateful for the support given by the Jewish people of Toledo in the battles with the Trastamaras in the middle of the XIV Century. At that time the royal treasury had not fallen into ruin that would lead to his death in prison, nor did the king suspect that he would die, assassinated by his stepbrother.

The adjacent halls and the renovated patio today hold examples of the uninteruupted Jewish presence in Spain since the beginning of its history, as well as elements of Sephardic culture, that is, of the Spanish Jews scattered around the world after their expulsion in 1492.

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