Medieval Portugese Jewish history is ancient and fascinating centering around 5 towns in Portugal: Lisbon, Porto, Belmonte, Tomar and Castelo de Vide. In these towns, you can see synagogues and old medieval Jewish districts.
What to Expect
Since the end of the Roman Empire, a Jewish minority existed in the territory that later became Portugal. During the founding of the nation in 1143, this minority was already widespread in some important places like Santarém who owned the oldest national synagogue. The Jewish population increased, favored by the need that the first kings (XII century) had felt to populate the territory that was being conquered by the Moors.
In all places where the number of Jews exceeded the dozens, a commune or aljama whose organizational center was the synagogue was created. A bell called the faithful not only to prayer but also to provide them with any information coming from the king or any decisions taken by the chief rabbi. The synagogue was the seat of the commune government...
Today, most of the medieval Jewish districts are UNESCO World Heritage.
There is no place in the world where you won’t be able to find a Jewish community. Portugal is a good example for that, in spite of the fact that Sephardic heritage in Portugal is known to few people. Sephardi Jews are the descendants of Portuguese-Spanish Jews, who used to live on the Iberian Peninsula before they were exiled from there due to the Alhambra Decree. As a matter of fact, the Jewish Sephardic community was flourishing up till the 15th century, but unfortunately, the expulsion of Jews from Spain had a bad impact on the community.
You will definitely enjoy the tour, especially if you are interested in the history or have Jewish roots. This way, you will have an opportunity to learn the history of the Jewish people in Portugal and the events that made it possible to establish the Cripto-Jewish communities. With a private guide in Lisbon, uncover one of the most intriguing secrets of Portugal – the secret of Sephardic Jews of the Iberian Peninsula.
The tour is unique and you won’t find much information on this topic in guidebooks. By the end of your private tour, you will learn a lot about the culture and history of the Sephardic Jews. Discover several of the most important features of this people, their traditions, characteristics and way of life but specially, their impact on Portuguese history and culture.