The Jewish Quarter Barcelona
The current lack of Jewish presence on the streets makes it hard to believe that Jews thrived here for over a thousand years and, before the 14th century pogroms, made up over 15% of Barcelona’s population. The city is now wnjoying some of the first signs of Hebraic regeneration in over 500 years, with a recent influx of Ashkenazi Jews from Argentina, newly established synagogues , study centres such as the Chabad Lubavitch and even the Jewish Film Festival .
The best place to start a half-day tour of Jewish Barcelona is the Call ( from the Hebrew work kahal, which means communitiy of congregation), a tiny patch of narrow medieval streets to the west of the cathedral. Despite heavy taxes and few civil rights, the Jews prospered here; by the 13th century, the Call hels over 4000 inhabitants and was regarded as one of the most religious and learned Sephardic Jewish communities. Beginning at Plaça Sant Jaume, head west down C/Call, once the Call’s main street and where the ghetto gates at either end were locked at night. The first street to your righ is C/Sant Honorat, where the water fountains were located; the second is C/Sant Domènec del Call, once the religious heart of the Call, and home to the main synagogue, kosher slaughter-houses and schools; the third street is the Call’s western boundary of C(Arc de Sant Ramon, where there was once a Jewish women’s school.
The Christianised street names are the result of the vicious pogrom of 1391, when the Call passed into the hands of the king, inhabitants were murdered of forced to convert to Catholicism and emblematic buildings were decorated with Catholic effigies.