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.

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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

Site Information
Names:Sinagoga de Santa Maria la Blanca · St. Mary the White · Synagogue of Santa Maria La Blanca
Categories:synagogues
Styles:Mudejar
Dedication: Virgin Mary (the White)
Dates:1203
Status: museum
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:39.857092° N, 4.030690° W
Address:Calle Reyes Católicos 2
Toledo, Spain
Phone:92-522-72-57
Hours:Daily 10am-6pm
Lodging:View hotels near Sinagoga de Santa Maria la Blanca
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

References

  1. Personal visit (April 2, 2007).
  2. The Rough Guide to Spain
  3. Frommer's Spain
  4. Spain.info.

More Information

© Holly Hayes
© Holly Hayes
© Holly Hayes

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