Rede de Judiarias de Portugal

Castelo de Vide

On a hill side facing to East and adjoining to the old medieval part develops the Jewish quarter from Castelo de Vide.
In a steep slope meander the narrow sidewalks which go from “Porta da Vila”, in the Castle, to “Fonte da Vila”, in everything equal from those who form the remaining medieval nucleus.
It’s interesting to verify that the Jewish community from Castelo de Vide grew between two fundamental spaces – the old Market Square and the obsolete “Fonte da Vila”.
The Jew, for its experience in the Diaspora, is fundamentally linked to market activities, justifying, mutually market and Jewry, in the same place – eastern slope of the Castle.
Although the hard urban delimitation, the Jewry from Castelo de Vide grew, fundamentally, from the streets “Fonte”, “Mercado”, “Arçário”, “Mestre Jorge”, “Judiaria”, “Ruinha da Judiaria”, the current “Rua dos Serralheiros” and “Rua Nova”. The extent of this space can be understood due to of the proximity to the Castilian border.


The edict from 1492, promulgated by the Catholic Kings, Fernando and Isabel, caused a massive displacement of Jewish families seeking, on this side of the border, the peace that the prophecies denied them in a strange land. Date from that time the commercial and manufacturing development that came to characterize, later, Castelo de Vide.
Not only in arts and crafts became known the Jewish community in Castelo de Vide, but also in botany and medicine, as prove us the names of “Garcia de Orta” and “Mestre Jorge” – the physician.
Regarding the renewal that, through its continued occupation, was suffering, the Jewry from Castelo de Vide shows some characteristic elements: ogival doors from housing and market (some decorated with professional symbols), the old sidewalks and the building that is thought to be the ancient synagogue.


This building identified as the Medieval Synagogue is located between “Rua da Judiaria” and “Rua da Fonte”.
The imposing Hejal (discovered in the seventies of the 20th Century), the mezuzah in the door, the annex building for school and residential area leave no doubt of how they organized the Portuguese communities.
In this case, the complex took the name BEIT-HA-MIDRASCH-SEFARDIN. In historic center are patents about a hundred Gothic ogival portals which represent one of the biggest national assemblies.
Castelo de Vide is today one of the best preserved and most visited Jewish Quarters in Alentejo and Portugal.
The Village Fountain contains an enormous tulip that Sephardic Portuguese people led to Holland where it become a national symbol.

PLACES TO VISIT:
-    Castle – Castelo
-    Medieval Jewish Quarter – Bairro Judeu Medieval
-    Medieval burgh – Burgo Medieval
-    BEIT – HAMIDRASCH SEFARDIN Synagogue – Sinagoga BEIT – HAMIDRASCH SEFARDIN
-    Renaissance fortifications – Fortificações Renascentistas
-    Natural Park of St. Mamede’s Mountain - Parque Natural da Montanha de São Mamede

 

The Jewish presence in Elvas is known since the Muslim ages (714-1230). The Ancient Jewish  Quarter is formed during this period, a first neighborhood  including the place known today as República Square, until 1511 was a group of streets and alleyways, such as Sapateiros street, Açougues street,  Aires Varela street, João de Olivença street, Martim Mendes street,  Isabel Maria Picão street, Pregos Arch and Portas do Sol. As this community  grows, in the middle of the  XIVth century they need to build a new Jewish Quarter, closer to the castle.

One of the most famous Christian Converted families in Elvas was the family of António Gomes de Elvas Coronel and his great grandson Luís Gomes de Elvas Coronel (1557?-1607), direct descendants of Castile Chief-Rabbi, Abraham Senior, the richest man in the Iberian Peninsula in the XVth century, who financed one of Christopher Columbus voyages to America.  Luís decided to buy the Trade of Postmaster General of the Kingdom, from this day on, he administrates all Portugal post offices without leaving Elvas.

Most probably Elvas synagogue is in Açougues street, in a building adapted by the town hall to be a public butcher shop by the beginning of the XVIth century. Quite possibly is the biggest medieval synagogue of the country. In Elvas architecture we find several historic remains as the great number of cruciforms on doorframes, symbols of the Christianization of several Jews/Christian Converted  new houses. There are lots of them all around our Historical Centre. Why don’t you try to find them!

 

Address

Posto de Turismo de Elvas

Praça da República

Telefone: 268 622 236

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Câmara Municipal de Elvas

Rua Isabel Maria Picão

Apartado 70

Telefone: 268 639 740

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Tourism Office – Castelo de Vide

Praça Dom Pedro V

7320-114 Castelo de Vide

Telephone:245 901 361

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