Travels

El Call: Visit to the Jewish quarter of Barcelona

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The Jewish Quarters are part of the urban landscape of virtually all major European cities. Over time, Jewish neighborhoods developed either because of the intolerance practiced by Christians or with the purpose of strengthening the sense of unity among the Jewish family. The center of Barcelona does not escape and in the historic gothic quarter we find the call - Catalan name to name the Jewish neighborhoods - and emerges as one of the most important in southern Europe during the Middle Ages.

There are indications of the Jewish quarter in Barcelona since the ninth century and already entering the twelfth century the Call formed a bounded perimeter and closed with its synagogues, ritual baths and other institutions for the practice of Judaism. Over time, the community grew with the expansion of the city of Barcelona and found its peak in the mid-thirteenth century when King Jaume I offered a whole series of legal rights to the Jewish community of Barcelona. The call became a reference as a Talmudic school and great thinkers like Shlomo ben Adret or Isaac ben Sheshet came out.

Main hall of the Call museum in Barcelona

A century later came the destruction of the Jewish quarter by the Christians of the city. Many had to convert and many others were killed. Over time the streets that run through the old call of Barcelona adapted to the uses and needs of Christians such as the construction of the nearby Palau de la Generalitat.

However, although it has been seven centuries since the Jewish quarter of Barcelona ceased to be what it was, we can still observe many details in the streets and doors of this enclave in the Gothic quarter of Barcelona that return us to a historical past.

The main streets where the old Jewish quarter runs you can see them in the following map making a kind of square along the streets of Sant Domènec, Sant Sever, Banys Nous and Calle del Call:

Visit to the Call Museum

Archaeological excavations have allowed to bring to light many objects of the daily life of the Jewish community as work tools as well as objects for the practice of rituals.

Many of them can be seen in the Call museum on Marlet Street. If you have the entrance to the Museum of History of Barcelona (in the Plaza del Rey) you can enter for free.

Superior room with the Jewish cultural legacy in the city

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