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Sinagoga de Santa Maria la Blanca, Toledo

Founded in 1203, the Sinagoga de Santa Maria La Blanca in Toledo is nearly two centuries older than the more elaborate and more crowded Tránsito Synagogue nearby.

History

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

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

Site Information
Names:Sinagoga de Santa Maria la Blanca; Sinagoga de Santa Maria la Blanca, Toledo; St. Mary the White; Synagogue of Santa Maria La Blanca
City:Toledo
Country:Spain
Categories:Synagogues
Faiths:Judaism; Christianity
Styles:Mudejar
Dates:1203
Status:museum
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:Toledo, Spain
Coordinates:39.857092° N, 4.030690° 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 de Santa Maria la Blanca

Below is a location map and aerial view of Sinagoga de Santa Maria la Blanca. 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. The Rough Guide to Spain
  3. Frommer's Spain
  4. Spain.info.

More Information

Article Info

Title:Sinagoga de Santa Maria la Blanca, Toledo
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:12/20/2010
Permalink:www.sacred-destinations.com/spain/toledo-synagogue-la-blanca
Link code:<a href="http://www.sacred-destinations.com/spain/toledo-synagogue-la-blanca">Sinagoga de Santa Maria la Blanca, Toledo</a>