Home of the Largest Jewish Community of Medieval Spain
Capital of Andalusia, Seville is situated on the left bank of the Guadalquivir River. This is a land where history knows no bounds… It is said that Hercules himself founded the city of Seville! Then came the Carthaginian conquest, the Muslim occupation in the 8th century, and the Castilian conquest in the 13th century. The site of the first tribunal of the Spanish Inquisition was in Seville. According to tradition there were Jews in in this city at the time of the destruction of the first Temple (586 B.C.E.).
During Muslim rule Seville prospered, and the Jewish community was engaged in commerce, medicine, and the textile dyeing industry. One account says the “Moors” even had Jewish guards for their city! In the 11th century, the king appointed the scholar Isaac Albalia as court astronomer and Seville became a center of medieval Jewish scholarship. Seville was re-conquered by the Christians in 1248, after which Jews lived in the winding, narrow streets of the “Juderia.” The Jewish community grew for a time, 500 Jewish families lived in Seville before the wave of anti-Semitic violence culminated in the expulsion of 1492.
Our tour guide will take you through the Medieval Jewish quarter of Seville and offer you an in-depth account of this once-bustling Jewish city, and second largest center of Sephardic Jewish life. You will learn about the complicated Jewish community from before the expulsion, ranging from the general impact of conversions to the personal and impactful stories of the individuals who made up that community.