Sinagoga de Santa Maria La Blanca

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Calle de los Reyes Católicos 4, Toledo, Spain

Sinagoga de Santa Maria La Blanca Toledo Reviews

Airpunk Airpunk
400 reviews
Santa Maria La Blanca Synagogue Jun 14, 2016
Santa Maria la Blanca is one of two sinagogues preserved in Toledo. It is unique in the way that it was ordered to be built by Christian Kings, designed by Muslim architects for use by the Jewish community. It is almost entirely built in Mudéjar style. In the early 15th century, the Jews were expulsed from Spain and the sinagogue was converted to a church. That's when it got the name Santa Maria la Blanca. In 1550, it was temporarily transformed it into an asylum for repentant prostitutes by Cardinal Siliceo. Though it is still owned by the Catholic church, it is not in use as a church any more. The building is remarkably well preserved, though it lacks some of its former features like the womens' lodge.

It's a nice building and I would not miss the chance to see it, if you can enter for free with "Pulsera Turística" (see below). If you are tight on time and/or money, better visit the Sephardic Museum in the former "Sinagoga del Transito". This is only 50 cent more expensive (3 EUR as of 2016) and there is much more to see.

Directions: In the old Jewish quarter which is located in the west of the old town. Between San Juan de los Reyes Monastery and the Sephardic Museum.
Sinagoga Santa Maria la Blanca, To…
Sinagoga Santa Maria la Blanca, To…
Sinagoga Santa Maria la Blanca, To…
Sinagoga Santa Maria la Blanca, To…
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Andy99 Andy99
609 reviews
Cross-Culturalism in the Mudejar Era Sep 29, 2013
The Sinagoga de Santa María la Blanca is a fascinating example of peaceful coexistence in the Middle Ages. The synagogue was constructed ca.1180-1205 under the Christian Kingdom of Castile by Islamic architects for the use of their Jewish neighbors. Originally the Ibn Shushan Synagogue, or commonly "The Congregational Synagogue of Toledo'". It was a symbol of religious cooperation, though the building became a Catholic church in the 15th century. (The church took the name Santa María la Blanca.) By the 18th century it had devolved into a barracks and storehouse.

The synagogue/church has been restored to show both sides of its heritage. The nave is divided into five aisles by four rows of columns. The horseshoe columns are typical of Mudéjar (Iberian Islamic) design. Islamic scrollwork forms the capitals of the columns and continues in the architrave. Three Plateresque style apses were later added on conversion to a church. The exterior is fitted with wood paneling.

A really interesting example of diverse communities living side by side and helping one another. Much can be learned here.

Admission is 2.50 Euros.
Sinagoga de Santa María la Blanca…
Sinagoga de Santa María la Blanca…
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5 / 5 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Andy99 says:
@Brian. Yes, I really get into the building descriptions. Comes from reading many National Register of Historic Places site inventories. :) In the case of describing Santa Maria la Blanca, architrave refers to the area above four the rows of interior columns and supported by them. There are three apses that were created when the synagogue was converted to a church. One, in the center aisle, formed the main altar. Two others, at the right and left, formed chapels. I photographed the center and left apses. The right was obscured by scaffolding.
Posted on: Jan 02, 2014
spocklogic says:
Wow, quite the use of architectural terminology and I learned something here I think. May I elaborate?

architrave - meaning "main beam" along top of the capitals of columns, but can also refer in general to moldings of various types in windows, doors or other rectangular openings

plateresque - meaning "in the manner of a silversmith", and refers to a Spanish architecture style originating in the late Gothic and early Renaissance characterized by ornate facades of varied and/or unusual design resembling intricate relief work as done on silver plates.

apses - meaning "arch vault" referring to a semicircular recess covered with a hemispherical vault or semi-dome
Posted on: Jan 01, 2014
rsvpme says:
Great review......I would love to photograph!
Posted on: Dec 30, 2013

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