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The ancient synagogue of Barcelona

The ancient synagogue is the most important building of the jew neighborhood during the 13th century. This community lived around the call street near the sant jaume square where there are the City Hall and the Catalan Government Palace.

Considered as the oldest one of Spain, even of all Europe, it has suffered a lot of events related to the jews. Indeed, this population grew a lot during the 14th century but since they had to share the area with pogroms, there were a lot of tensions.

In 1391, there was a fight between them and later, the community didn’t exist anymore and by this way, the

ancient synagogue lost its main function. It has been changed to a dry cleaner’s then to a warehouse for electric materials. Some buildings and cemeteries were demolished and their stones were recycled to construct new ones so by walking on the comtes street, you can see some walls with hebrew inscriptions.

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It was not before at the end of the 20th century, after the investigation of the Call Association of Barcelona, that the building has been determined as a worship temple for the jews and by this way, the restoration started. Its main façade is oriented east south towards Jerusalem. Moreover, it was found in its soil some remains of the roman walls dating around the 2nd century during the reign of the emperor Lucius Septimius Bassianus, also known as Caracalla.


If you take a careful look on the right side of the lintel of the door, you will notice a mezuzah which allows to identify a jewish house. It is a piece of parchment inscribed with specified hebrew verses from the torah and it can be contained in a decorative case.

The ancient synagogue (calle marlet 5) can be visited free so you can discover its underground floor and you can walk above a crystal floor to see the roman walls. Also you will find the place where is guarded the manuscripts of the sacred book called torah and a menorah made of wrought iron, it is a seven-branched candelabrum symbolizing the judaism. For more information, you can check its official website.