Inside the Sinagoga Major

©Esme Fox/Lonely Planet

Sinagoga Major

La Rambla & Barri Gòtic

At the heart of the ancient Jewish Call lie the remains of what may well be the city’s main medieval synagogue (though some historians cast doubt on the claim). Fragments of medieval and Roman-era walls sit in the small vaulted space that you enter from the street, accompanied by tanners’ wells installed in the 15th century. The second chamber has been spruced up for use as a synagogue.

The orientation (facing Jerusalem) of a remnant of late Roman-era wall has led some to speculate that there was a synagogue here even in Roman times. There were four synagogues in the medieval city, but after the pogroms of 1391, this one (assuming it was the Sinagoga Major) was Christianised by the placing of an effigy of St Dominic on the building. Guides explain what is thought to be the significance of the site in various languages.

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