1. Sacred Destinations
  2. Spain
  3. Toledo
  4. Sinagoga del Transito

Sinagoga del Transito, Toledo

Austere but elegant Mudejar facade of the Sinagoga del Transito, Toledo. View all images in our Sinagoga del Transito Photo Gallery.
Side view, with bell tower added by Christians after 1492.
The beautiful main prayer hall, looking towards the altar wall.
End wall and cedar ceiling, both richly carved.
Tombstone with Hebrew epitaph from the 11th century, Museo Sefardi.
Museum exhibits including oil lamps from the 1st century AD.
Lovely rocky landscape across the river from the Sinagoga del Transito.

The Sinagoga del Tránsito (or Synagogue of Samuel ha-Levi) was once an important house of worship for Toledo's large Jewish population. A 14th-century building, it is an excellent example of Spanish Jewish art especially noted for its superb stucco Hebrew inscriptions.

History

Founded and financed by Samuel Levi, the Sinagoga del Tránsito was built in 1357. Samuel ha-Leví Abufalia was treasurer and advisor to King Pedro I of Castile, and it is said that Levi imported cedars from Lebanon for the building's construction - à la Solomon when he built the First Temple in Jerusalem.

The bell tower was added by the Christian religious order of Alcántara, who took over the building after the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492.

In the 18th century, it was a hermitage dedicated to the Tránsito de Nuestra Señora (Our Lady's Transit, meaning Mary's assumption into heaven), which accounts for its present name.

During the war against Napoleon, the synagogue became a military barracks. In 1977, it was declared a national monument and it is now a museum.

What to See

The exterior of the rectangular synagogue is relatively austere but attractive, made of creamy-colored brick and stone. The street-facing facade is pierced by seven round windows enhanced by blind arcades and wooden balconies.

Inside, the main prayer hall is covered with intricate Mudéjar decoration and Hebrew inscriptions glorifying God, Peter the Cruel, and Levi himself. The inscriptions include psalms inscribed along the top of the walls and a poetic description of the Temple on the east wall.

Adjoining the main hall is the Museo Sefardí (Sephardic Museum), a small but excellent museum of Jewish culture in Spain. The museum opened in 1971 and contains a variety of Jewish art, ritual objects and tombstones with Hebrew epitaphs, many of them quite ancient. Labels are in Spanish only.

Quick Facts on Sinagoga del Transito

Site Information
Names:Sinagoga del Transito; Sinagoga del Transito, Toledo; Synagogue of Samuel ha-Levi
City:Toledo
Country:Spain
Categories:Synagogues
Faiths:Judaism; Sephardic
Styles:Mudejar
Dates:1366
Status:museum
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:Toledo, Spain
Coordinates:39.855786° N, 4.029686° W  (view on Google Maps)
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

Map of Sinagoga del Transito

Below is a location map and aerial view of Sinagoga del Transito. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.

References

  1. Personal visit (April 2, 2007).
  2. Fodor's Spain
  3. Frommer's Spain
  4. Spain.info

More Information

Article Info

Title:Sinagoga del Transito, Toledo
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:12/20/2010
Permalink:www.sacred-destinations.com/spain/toledo-sinagoga-del-transito/spain/toledo-sinagoga-del-transito
Link code:<a href="http://www.sacred-destinations.com/spain/toledo-sinagoga-del-transito/spain/toledo-sinagoga-del-transito">Sinagoga del Transito, Toledo</a>