Alhambra and the “Granada of the Jews”
The Alhambra -- the almost magical sounding name for the spectacular palace fortress in Granada -- the symbol of an era of light in the so-called “Dark Ages” when religious tolerance was practiced and Jewish communities of the Iberian Peninsula thrived. Called “a pearl set in emeralds”--referring to the orange-ochre of the building materials set among the beautiful green forests--it is a must-see on any visit to Granada.
Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Andalusia, at the confluence of the Darro and Genil Rivers. Legend has it that some of the Jews who were exiled by Nebuchadnezzar (586 B.C.E.) settled in Granada. The Moors recognized this ancient tradition by referring to the city as “Granada of the Jews.” Like all Jewish communities in Spain, Jewish Granada prospered under the Ummayad caliphate (755-1013). Jewish residents were involved in the cotton and silktrade, as well as in banking. The great tradition of Sephardic Jewry ended with the expulsion of 1492. Today’s small community is active in memory work and making the “Sephardic Path” which runs throughout Spain but especially here in Granda, a path to travel once again.
Our tour will trace Jewish history around the city. The Juderia in Granada moved, expanded, or contracted depending on the wishes of the various Muslimrulers. The area known as Realejo, in the town center, housed at times the largest Jewish community of medieval Granada. As we move from Plaza Nueva square up to Calle Colcha, into the Realejo neighbourhood, we will stop at the statue of YehubaIbnTibon, renowned physician, translator, philosopher and poet. The Translations Department of the Granada University (one of Spain’s largest and most prestigious) carries his name.
We will also explore the Casa de la Juderia, a charming building housing a small museum and designed according to the plan of old Jewish Granada houses.
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