Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Toledo - Santa Maria la Blanca

Erected in 1180, Santa Maria la Blanca may well be the oldest standing synagogue building in Europe. It was clearly designed by Islamic artisans and is considered a symbol of the cooperative and peaceful co-existence of Christians, Jews and Muslims at the time. Of course, in 1492, that all went to hell in a handbasket, as Jews (about 300,000 of them), along with the Moors, were expelled from Spain. The synagogue became a Christian church before that, in the early 1400s, which is went it got the Christian name it bears to this day. The King of Spain came here to apologize to the Jews for the expulsion and invited descendants of Sephardic Jews to return to Spain and take up dual citizenship, promising to return Santa Maria la Blanca to the Jewish community as a synagogue. Response to this request has been tepid here and there are not sufficient Jewish families remaining in Toledo to reactivate it.

You really must look up to see most of the glories of this building - alabaster windows


The only Star of David or any other Jewish imagery in the Church:

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