Rede de Judiarias de Portugal

Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo

Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo

Since 1209 there have been references to Jewish presence in Castelo Rodrigo (Charter from the Kingdom of Leon). With D.Dinis the town became part of Portuguese territory and the King confirmed the privileges of the pre-existant Jewish Community in 1316.

The Jewish Quarter was located inside the walls of the old village in the areas today correspondent to the Sinagoga and Páteo do Concelho Streets as well as the Largo de S. João Baptista (S. João Baptista Square).

With the arrival of many refugees from Spain after 1492 the county experiences a large population growth, but already during the reign of D. Manuel ceases the official existence of the Jewish Quarter. And a time of urban renewal with the new-Christians also occupying the Cadeia da Praça and Tapada Streets where today can be seen multiple Manueline portals with cruciforms carved in the stone.

The old Synagogue, located on the corner of Rua da Sinagoga (Synagogue Street) and Rua do Páteo do Castelo (Páteo do Castelo Street) has been transformed into the cistern that can be seen today although maintaining its base construction.

In the time of the Inquisition about 200 cases were made against figueirenses (citizens of Figueira Castelo Rodrigo) with the village of Escalhão being the victim of more than half of the accusations. Escarigo, near the border of Spain, was also intensely persecuted, counting 25% of the total of cases opened.

During the 20th century still existed many practitioners and heirs to the Crypto Judaism in the villages of the county of Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo. In the Vermiosa Church can be seen a Parokhet (curtain used to cover the Hejal) brought from an old Synagogue.

Efraim Hezekiah Bueno, born in 1599 in Castelo Rodrigo by the name of Martim Alvares, graduated in medicine in Bordeaux and became and emigrant doctor and writer in Amsterdam. He became famous by the paintings / portrait his friend Rembrandt bequeathed to the history of the art. His funeral tombstone, located at the Portuguese cemetery of Ouderderk (Amsterdam), is a tribute to the Lusitanian Diaspora and all those who were force to flee because of the Inquisition. It is writen in the “language of Camões” and only the date of death, 1665, is placed according to the Jewish calendar.

 

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