Santa María la Blanca

Santa María la Blanca (literally Saint Mary the White, originally known as the Ibn Shushan Synagogue, or commonly "The Congregational Synagogue of Toledo'") is a museum and former synagogue in Toledo, Spain. Erected in 1180, it is disputably considered the oldest synagogue building in Europe still standing. It is now owned and preserved by the Catholic Church. Its stylistic and cultural classification is unique as it was constructed under the Christian Kingdom of Castile by Islamic architects for Jewish use. It is considered a symbol of the cooperation that existed among the three cultures that populated the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages.

The synagogue is a Mudéjar construction, created by Moorish architects on Christian soil for non-Islamic purposes. But it can also be considered one of the finest example of Almohad architecture because of its construction elements and style. The plain white interior walls as well as the use of brick and of pillars instead of columns are characteristics of Almohad architecture. The typology also presents nuances in its classification, because although it was constructed as a synagogue, its hypostyle room, and the lack of a women's gallery, make it closer in character to a mosque. Though it does not have a women's gallery today, it did at one time have a women's gallery according to an early 20th century architect. It became a church in 1405 or 1411, but no major reforms were done for the change. It took then the name of Santa María la Blanca (Saint Mary, the White), and today it is known by this name. The synagogue at Santa Maria la Blanca is located on the outskirts of Toledo situated between the Church of San Juan de los Reyes and the Synagogue of El Transito.

Santa Maria la Blanca was a wholly unusual synagogue, in both plan and elevation. The floor plan of the synagogue is an irregular quadrilateral divided into five aisles, with the central nave aisle slightly larger than the remaining four. The space runs between 26 and 28 meters long and between 19 and 23 meters wide. The interior features a series of arcades supported on a network of twenty-four octagonal piers and eight engaged piers. These octagonal supports line the central aisle of the synagogue and support the large arcade of horseshoe arches above. The arches rest on intricately detailed capitals with finely carved pinecones and other vegetal imagery. These capitals are Mudéjar in style and are derived from classical, Corinthian antecedents as well as Byzantine concepts.

Source of description:ía_la_Blanca wikipedia

Similar places by:

Price definition of price normal : 2.30
Geographical coordinates 39.8569013, -4.0306118
Address 45002 Toledo, Calle de los Reyes Católicos 4
Opening date 1180

How to arrive