Tour of the Barcelona Jewish Heritage
Enter the world and history of the local Jewish
In the Middle Ages, the Jewish community of Barcelona was the most important in the Crown of Aragon and we have evidences that there were already Jewish families in our land during the Roman times. They were an important part of our society until the pogroms in 1391, after which the community was dissolved.
The Jewish only started coming back to Spain in the mid-20th century, and nowadays they are only a very small part of our local population.
Come discover the past and present of the Jewish in Barcelona with us.
Our tours are private tours for your party only. No strangers joining your tours.
Get to skip the lines in all museums and sites. Don’t even buy tickets in advance.
NOTE: This tour is Jewish Heritage Only. If you’d like to see the Jewish Section and some non-Jewish tourist sites, check out our sightseeing tours.
This is what you’ll do in 4 hours:
The main part of the itinerary takes place in the Old Town:
Call, the medieval Jewish Section
Center of Interpretation of the Call
Other Jewish sites in the Gothic Quarter
After that, you’ll be able to choose what other sites you wish to explore:
Museum of History of the City
Kosher food shop
Modern Jewish cemetery
Tour lasts 4h, but depending on how many sites you want to add, more time might be needed. Feel free to ask.
For the Montjuïc Hill sites, a chauffeured tour is needed. For the other, walking and taxis are enough.
Tour is available Mon-Sun.
Interpretation Center of the Call: Closed on Mondays. Tue-Fri open 11am to 2pm, weekends 11am to 7pm.
Museum of History of the City: Closed on Mondays.
Tours on Shabat. If you follow the Shabat rules strictly, we are open to consider a 100% walking tour but please understand that if we leave the area of the Old Town a considerable amount of walking will be needed (and that might also mean a longer tour). We will also have to figure out a way so we can handle the money during the tour for any required entrance fees.
DID YOU KNOW… That “Call” is the word that was used in the Crown of Aragon to refer to the Jewish Section in the Middle Ages, but this word was not used in the rest of Spain?
The first part of your tour starts in the Old Town, were we’ll take you around the alleys and backstreets of the Gothic Quarter and the Call, the medieval Jewish Section. Not many elements where left after the quarter was attacked in 1391, but you can still feel there the atmosphere of the Middle Ages. We will walk around and learn about its history: the major and the minor Calls, the possible location of the Mikhva… We will also see Hebrew tombstones embedded in the walls of various buildings, discover where a Faith Debate took place, and where the Inquisition Headquarters were located in 1493.
The main site to be seen there is of course the Main medieval synagogue. Now mostlya Museum, but they also occasionally organize bar mitzvahs, weddings and other Jewish celebrations. It is said to be the oldest documented synagogue in Europe.
Nearby is located the Interpretation Center of the Call. Run by the Museum of History of the City, it displays some ceramics found in excavationsin the Jewish Section, as well as some Jewish tombstones. Sometimes they organize very interesting temporary exhibits on the local Jewish History.
The following part of the itinerary will be designed according to your interests and needs. Here are our options:
Museum of History of the City. Although its main collection is focused on the Roman city ruins, you might be interested in seeing a couple of Hebrew tombstones embedded in their walls, then visit the Medieval Section where you can see a few window cases displaying some local Jewish objects, as well as the original inscription written in Hebrew about Rabbi Samuel Ha-Sardí found in Marlet St. (the one exhibited in the street is only a copy). Visit takes around 1h.
Buying Kosher food. It is hard to find kosher food in Barcelona, and it’s also quite expensive compared to NYC, for instance. But kosher food can be found in a couple of “secret” spots. Let me take you there!
Modern cemetery. There is only one cemetery in Barcelona that has a special area for Jewish burials.
Montjuïc Hill. Some historians believe the name of the Hill actually meant “Mount of the Jewish”, because their medieval cemetery was there. Unfortunately, not much is left of it, but if you are interested I can take you to a vantage point overlooking the field where it was (now sadly covered by weeds) and honor it by listening to its history. After that, we can head to the modern cemetery of Montjuïc. It’s not where our local community buries their loved ones, but we’ll see there two little memorials on the Spanish Jewish that were killed during the Spanish Civil War as well as in World War II. They are quite humble, but they make a solemn setting to explain the modern history of the local Jewish.
Modern Synagogues. At the moment, there are only 4 active synagogues in town: 2 orthodox and 2 reform. Not being Jewish myself, I cannot arrange a visit there but you are welcome to contact them and see if they can receive you. For safety reasons, it is possible that they ask to check your identity and get some references before accepting:
- ATID, Catalonian Jewish Community.
- AID, Bet Shalom.
- CIB, Israeli Community of Barcelona.
- Jabad Lubavitch.