Toledo, three cultures: the Jewish quarter

One of Toledo’s distinctive features is the superposition of elements corresponding to three different cultures, something present in other Spanish cities throughout history but not as close together as in this Castilian city. Therefore, it is known as the “city of three cultures”, and that is without taking into account the important Visigoth past it had, of which there are barely any remains left.

It is important to know that after Muslims conquered the city in the year 920 AD, Jews were allowed to stay in the city but inside a walled section, west of the population, which occupied one tenth of the total city. However, Jews were not made to live inside that ghetto, but rather allowed to do so outside those walls.

In this area you can see many battlements, adarves in Spanish, a word of Arabic origin used to refer to the narrow walkway on top of a wall used by guards to patrol. It is an element characteristic of the Jewish quarter, as were the narrow cul-de-sac streets that lead to different house complexes or passages that communicated different areas from the Jewish quarter.

Today, in this part of the city there are places of interest such as the El Greco Museum, the synagogue of Santa María La Blanca, the Victorio Macho Museum or the Sephardic Museum, inside the synagogue of El Tránsito. It opened its doors in 1971 and it is located inside the Jewish temple ordered to be built in the mid-14th century. Since then, it has had different uses, from a church to a chapel as well as military barracks and now a museum. In summer, it opens from Tuesday to Saturday from 9.30am until 8.00pm and on Sundays from 10.00am until 3.00pm. Closed Mondays. Tickets cost 3€ and inside you can see different archaeological and ethnographic material, everyday objects of the Jewish community that lived there and their ties to Sefarad, the toponym that they used to refer to Spain.

Stay with us when you come to discover Toledo’s historical sites.

Hotel Carlos V is located in the heart of Toledo and it is ideal for stays both of business and pleasure, as well as romantic getaways.