Spain’s Largest Jewish Community
The once flourishing medieval Jewish community of Barcelona was gradually expelled throughout the 14th century, a process ultimately culminating in the Spanish expulsion of 1492. For 500 years there were no Jews in the city, until the early 20th century, when a steady influx of both Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews moved to the city from North Africa and Eastern Europe. Today, an estimated 3,500 Jewish residents live in Barcelona, giving it the honor of having the largest concentration of Jews in Spain. There are four synagogues that serve the community, an elderly care house, a day school, and a Chabad house. In addition, every year Barcelona hosts a Jewish film festival.
We begin in the city’s Jewish Quarter, known as El Call, from the Hebrew kahal, meaning “community” or “congregation.” From there we will visit the Sinagoga Mayor, thought to be the oldest synagogue in Europe. We will also discover gravestones dating back to the 10th century at the Jewish cemetery on Montjuic (Jewish mountain). Now a city park, this ancient cemetery is home to the last remains of the most notable members of the pre-expulsion Spanish community. We will conclude our tour along Las Ramblas Boulevard, the most popular street of the city.
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