History of Sinagoga de Santa Maria la Blanca
The synagogue of "St. Mary the White" was designed and decorated by Mudejar architects (defined as Moors working on Christian soil on non-Islamic buildings). The Islamic influence is readily apparent in the lovely horseshoe arches and other features. It was completed in 1203.
In the early 15th century, the synagogue was stormed by a Christian mob led by St. Vincent Ferrer and converted into a church. In subsequent centuries it was used variously as a carpenter's workshop, store, barracks, and refuge for former prostitutes.
Today, the Sinagoga de Santa Maria La Blanca is beautifully restored and open to the public as a museum.
What to See at Sinagoga de Santa Maria la Blanca
Thankfully, the original synagogue has survived its turbulent history mostly intact. The interior is divided into five aisles by four rows of seven horseshoe arches, each with elaborate Mudéjar decorations molded in plaster. The capitals are carved with vegetal decorations that suggest Almohad influences, while the dark red floor is dotted with decorative tiles.
The overall effect is very much that of a mosque rather than a synagogue, and it notably lacks a women's gallery. But the round windows and relatively plain exterior are in keeping with most European synagogues.
Reflecting the synagogue's later use as a church is a fine 16th-century altarpiece at the end of the center aisle.
Quick Facts on Sinagoga de Santa Maria la Blanca
|Sinagoga de Santa Maria la Blanca · St. Mary the White · Synagogue of Santa Maria La Blanca
|Virgin Mary (the White)
|Visitor and Contact Information
|39.857092° N, 4.030690° W
|Calle Reyes Católicos 2
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Map of Sinagoga de Santa Maria la Blanca, Toledo
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