Seville, the capital of Andalucía, the southern region of Spain, lies mostly along the right bank of the Guadalquivir river (from the arabic al wadi al-kvir –the big river-) in the land region known as the Guadalquivir Basin. The Basin is a dry but extremely fertile region in the hottest part of the country. Its average yearly temperature is over 19 degrees centigrade although in summer time, it easily reaches up to 45 degrees centigrade. Population of Seville is about 700,000 people with a minimal Jewish presence nowadays.
However, Seville, which had the second largest jewish population in all the Kingdom of Castile during the middle ages, is also where the destruction of spanish jewry began in June of 1391. The bloodshed of Seville was the first of many and within two months, they extended like wildfire all though Castile and Aragon, reaching even Gerona (next to the border with France). These massacres led to mass conversions and, eventually, to the expulsión in 1492.
The main idea of this tour is not just visiting key sites related with the jewish past of the city but also and mainly to focus on all aspects of Judaism in Seville. Not in vain, Seville is the first city in Spain where the jews returned back after 1860 and settled down again, creating the first jewish community of Spain after the expulsión in 1492.
In order to understand current jewish life in Seville (and in all of Spain, why not?) we need to put into context past and present so therefore, during our walking tour, I will take you along an emotional journey where you will share, understand and enjoy the uniqueness of Jewish past and present-day life in Sevilla.
For about 3 hours, we will walk inside the former Jewish quarter of Sevilla trying to understand how our ancestors lived in Spain until they were expelled from some cities of Andalusia (Sevilla among them) in 1483 and definitely forced to exile from Spain in 1492.
Thus, it's still possible to walk through the area which once was occupied by the Jewish Quarter and to see the remains of the Synagogues that were converted to churches after the bloodshed of 1391 (Santa María la Blanca and San Bartolomé).
Moreover, there are some parts of the wall that once surrounded the Jewish Quarter which can be seen and even the remains of the Jewish cemetery from the XIIIth Century can be visited. The church of San Nicolás is also an important part of our journey. Here we will learn about the blood libel of Santo Domingo del Val, a false accusation that jews kidnapped and murdered a child in the city of Zaragoza in 1250 to use his blood as part of a religious rituals during Jewish holidays. Historically, these claims (alongside those of well poisoning and host desecration) have been a major theme in European persecution of jews.
As you can see, there's a lot of history involved in Sevilla related to its jewish past so what I propose to you is a journey through history.
Come and join!