Miqwe

sights / Religious

Miqwe information

Location
Syracuse , Italy
Address
Via Alagona 52
Telephone
+390 931 2 22 55
Prices
tours in English & Italian €5
Opening hours
tours 9am-7pm late-Mar–Oct, reduced hours rest of year
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Buried 20m beneath the Alla Giudecca hotel in Ortygia's old Jewish ghetto (known as the Giudecca) is an extraordinary ancient Jewish miqwe (ritual bath), reputedly Europe's oldest. The baths were once connected to a synagogue, but were blocked by members of the Jewish community when they were expelled from the island in 1492. Regularly scheduled tours are offered in English and Italian.

It's a fascinating sight – the three deep pools intended for total immersion constantly bubble with fresh water, now pumped out of the chamber to prevent flooding. To the sides of the main pools are two separate, private pools, reserved for the sole use of the rabbis.