From Roman times to the abrupt and tragic end in the late 15th century, the Jews of Spain-educated and connected internationally-contributed in innumerable ways to the culture and heritage of the Iberian Peninsula and provided invaluable leadership to the broader Jewish world.  Now, after 500 years, a Jewish revival is occurring in Spain.  Explore the rich traditions, amazing history and wonderful re-emergence of Ladino poetry and song-all set amongst a backdrop of spectacular architecture, food and wine.

 

Tour Highlights

  • Museo Nacional del Prado (the Spanish national art museum)
  • Royal Palace of Madrid
  • Ibn Gabirol Jewish School
  • Special sessions on Jewish history
  • The Sephardic Museum
  • Jewish Quarter in Toledo
  • Visit to Cordoba
  • Encounters with the Seville and Granada Jewish communities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 1: Arrival

  • Arrival at Madrid Barajas Airport and train ride to the hotel.
  • Opening dinner at a kosher restaurant in Madrid with guest speaker.

Overnight: Madrid Hotel

 


Day 2: The Madrid Experience

  • Museo Nacional del Prado: This gallery in Madrid has the most complete collection of Spanish painting from 11th-18th centuries, and numerous masterpieces by great universal artists such as El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, Bosch, Titian, Van Dyck and Rembrandt. Of particular Jewish interest is Titian’s famed “Moses Saved from the Waters” and two works depicting an auto-da-fe from the time of the Inquisition.
  • Visit of the Real Palace of Madrid: This Royal Palace in Madrid is on El Pardo Hill, which has almost 16,000 hectares of woodland, to the north of the city. It was built in the 16th century, during the reign of Philip II, over the remains of a small castle. Besides its architectural beauty, the monument is also outstanding for its interior decoration.
  • Free time for lunch on own.
  • Afternoon visit to the Ibn Gabirol Jewish School in Madrid: meeting with pupils and teachers.
  • Session on the history of the Jews in Spain with scholar.
  • Dinner at leisure

Overnight: Madrid Hotel

 


Day 3: The Beauty of Toledo

  • Travel by bus to Toledo (approximately one hour), one of the most important Jewish cities of medieval Europe, and a city where the rich Jewish presence from before the Inquisition is felt in every street and alley, marked with tiles indicating Jewish sites. The Sephardic Museum preserves the legacy of the Spanish-Jewish and Sephardic culture as an essential part of the cultural heritage of Toledo, where the historic quarter has the World Heritage designation. The Sephardic Museum is situated in an emblematic building in the Jewish Quarter in Toledo – the Samuel ha-Levi or Tránsito Synagogue – built in the 14th century, authorised by Peter I of Castile.
  • Visit also the Santa Maria La Blanca synagogue later transformed into a church, and descend into the recently discovered mikve. Kosher style lunch en route.
  • Late afternoon return to Madrid and free evening.

Overnight: Madrid Hotel

 


 Day 4: The Glory that was Cordoba

  • Check out of the hotel and drive south from Madrid to Cordoba (4.5 hours’ drive).
  • The Casa de Sefarad, or House of Memories, is a cultural project established through a private initiative, dedicated to preserving Judeo-Spanish (Sephardic) culture, history and tradition, and, through its unique collection in Spain and its cultural activities, aims to rediscover and make known the extensive and rich legacy of the Sephardic tradition. The five rooms contain a unique collection of pieces and objects from the many diverse places in the Mediterranean where Sephardic communities settled during the Diaspora (Fez, Tetuan, Oran, Tunisia,
    Alexandria, Izmir, Thessaloniki, Rhodes, Istanbul, etc)…
  • Lunch en route.
  • Visit the Cordoba Synagogue, together with El Transito, the finest examples of medieval Jewish architecture in the Iberian Peninsula. Wander through the Juderia, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984 and one of the largest in Europe. To the northwest of the Mosque-Cathedral, along the city wall. The medieval streets have a distinctly Moorish flair to them, reminiscent of the Jews’ prosperity under the Caliphate of Cordoba.
  • Cordoba Jewry’s most distinguished representative was without doubt Maimonides, the Jewish Philosopher and Astronomer was born in Cordoba in 1135 or 1138. A statue to his honor stands in Plaza Maimonides near the Synagogue. Moshe ben Maimon, the Rambam, became one of the most prolific and influential Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages.
  • Continue to Sevilla and check in to hotel.
  • Dinner at hotel, followed by a session on Maimonides with scholar.

Overnight: Sevilla Hotel

 


Day 5: From Sevilla to Granada

  • Many centuries ago, Seville had the biggest Jewish community in Spain, with as many as 33 synagogues and scores of money-lenders, doctors, scientists, lawyers and merchants; then came the Catholic Kings and the Inquisition, and all the city’s Jews were forced to either convert or flee. The Jewish barrio in Seville (or Juderia) was a walled made up of a maze of narrow, winding alleys a cemetery near the Jardines de Murillo, where one can still see a Jewish tomb in the car park.
  • A small museum offers a fascinating insight into the culture and life of Jews in medieval Seville: where they lived, bathed, worshipped; where their baker’s and shoe shops were; even which hermandades (brotherhood guilds) were founded by conversos . You can read stories of Jews who lived in Seville, outwardly converted, but secretly continued to practice their faith.
  • Light lunch on own before drive to Granada.
  • Check into hotel and free time to prepare for Shabbat.
  • Shabbat arrangements and Shabbat dinner.

Overnight: Granada Hotel

 


Day 6: The Beauty of Granada

  • Breakfast at leisure and walk to the Alhambra: a beautiful complex of buildings and gardens. Its leafy tree-lined walkways provide pleasant shade and coolness, enhanced by the abundance of water that flows in its streams. It was the largest political and aristocratic center of the Moslem West. The Palace premises comprise beautiful rectangular courtyards and numerous fountains, as well as the Nasrid buildings that served as living quarters for the monarchs and their servants. The oldest building is the Alcazaba citadel. One of the most important structures is the La Velatower, which offers one of the loveliest views of the Alhambra. The courtyard of the Lions with its fountains is one of the most beautiful in the compound. Special mention should be made of the stunning Riad, or Acequia, courtyard, with its countless fountains, the Ciprés de la Sultana Courtyard.
  • Free time.

Overnight: Granada Hotel

 


Day 7: Jewish Granada

  • Explore the city of Granada in southern Spain and the museum dedicated to the culture of Sephardic Jews who used to live there before the Inquisition. The museum, which is called “The Palace of the Forgotten,” is housed inside the Santa Ines palace located in Albaicin — a neighborhood in the city’s old center where many Jews used to live before 1492, when they were forced to convert to Christianity or flee. The museum contains Judaica artifacts, archeological findings such as ceramic utensils, furniture, artworksand other valuables recovered from Jewish homes. The museum features the restoration of a mikvah ritual bath from before the 15th century, which is among the few well-preserved mikvahs from that period ever excavated in Spain.
  • The Sephardic Memorial Center of Granada emerges from a private initiative, with the aim of recreating the culture, history, peoples and traditions of the Jewish people de Granata al-Yahud. Located in a typical house in the heart of the Jewish quarter of Granada, the center showcases the contributions to literature, science, gastronomy and history of the Jews of Granada.
  • Farewell dinner and summary session

Overnight: Granada Hotel

 


Day 8: Departure

Check out of hotel and transfer to Granada Airport for departure flight.

 

*Itinerary is subject to change pending circumstances beyond our control*

Get Offer...