Córdoba Synagogue

Saturday, 7 October 2023 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Museums, Exhibitions, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  4 minutes

West wall © Américo Toledano/cc-by-sa-3.0

West wall © Américo Toledano/cc-by-sa-3.0

Córdoba Synagogue (Spanish: Sinagoga de Córdoba) is a historic edifice in the Jewish Quarter of Córdoba (part of the UNESCO World Heritage “Historic centre of Córdoba“), Spain, built in 1315. The synagogue’s small size points to it having possibly been the private synagogue of a wealthy man. It is also possible that Córdoba’s complex of buildings was a yeshivah, kollel, or study hall. Another possibility is that this was the synagogue of a trade guild, which converted a residence or one of the work rooms into the synagogue. The synagogue was decorated according to the best Mudejar tradition.

After the expulsion of the Jews in 1492, the synagogue was seized by the authorities and converted into a hospital for people suffering from rabies (hydrophobia), the Hospital Santo Quiteria. In 1588, the building was acquired by the shoemakers guild, who used it as a community center and small chapel, changing the patron saint of the building to Santos Crispin-Crispian, the patron saint of shoemakers. It was declared a National Monument in 1885.

Women's section on the second floor © José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro/cc-by-sa-3.0 Ceiling and illumination level © flickr.com - JP Puerta/cc-by-2.0 Entrance © Zarateman/cc-by-sa-3.0 Entrance © flickr.com - Elliott Brown/cc-by-sa-2.0 © Chabe01/cc-by-sa-4.0 West wall © Américo Toledano/cc-by-sa-3.0 Courtyard © Américo Toledano/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Women's section on the second floor © José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro/cc-by-sa-3.0
Since then it has undergone several phases of the restoration including that of Felix Hernandez in 1929. In 1935, the Spanish authorities marked the eight-hundredth anniversary of Maimonides‘ birth by changing the name of the square in which the synagogue is located to Tiberias Square, honoring the great native-born philosopher, who is buried in Tiberias. At this celebration the first Jewish prayer service in 443 years to occur openly and with full knowledge of the authorities was held at the synagogue. Another restoration was begun in 1977 for the reopening of the building in 1985 to celebrate the 850th anniversary of Maimonides birth. It is the only synagogue in Córdoba that escaped destruction during years of persecution. Although no longer functioning as a house of worship, it is open to the public as a museum.

The floor plan of the synagogue, as well as other synagogues of the time period, was greatly affected by the restrictions placed upon synagogue construction by Christian leaders. Restrictions varied depending on the location of the synagogue and whether or not Jews enjoyed a privileged status in that community. The size of the synagogue had to reflect its humility and inferiority to the Catholic church, but it differed from place to place in accordance with the Christian buildings in the area. Sometimes even the king’s favor was not sufficient to avoid the troubles that the local clergy could cause. In April 1250, Innocent IV ordered the Bishop of Córdoba to take action against the Jews for building a synagogue of an unacceptable height. Documents from his reign record resentment toward a prominent new congregational synagogue:

The Jews of Cordoba are rashly presuming to build a new synagogue of unnecessary height thereby scandalizing faithful Christians, wherefore … we command [you] … to enforce the authority of your office against the Jews in this regard….

Read more on TurismoDeCordoba.org – Córdoba Synagogue and Wikipedia Córdoba Synagogue (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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