Medieval Barcelona’s Jewish community.

Jewish Quarter El CallThere were Jews in Barcelona before the Jewish quarter came to exist, although it is not known whether they already formed a community. We know, that towards the year 850 the head of the rabbinic academy of Sura in Babylonia sent a letter to the Jews of Barcelona. And in 877 the Jew called Judacot acted as the emissary between the king Charles the Bald and the Barcelonans, delivering a certain amount of money for the repair of the cathedral. Or for example, Jews were among the dead in an arabian assault on Barcelona in the year 985.

The “usatges” (Usages) of Barcelona from the 11th century include some provisions relating to the Jews. The first documentary record of a Jewish quarter in Barcelona dates from this century, mentioning a street that “solebat ire ad callem judaicum”.

Jewish Quarter El CallThe word “call” means little street or alley. This name came to extend itself to the whole set of streets occupied by the Jews, that is to say, the Jewish quarter, and the community of Jews was called the “aljama”.

This community remained in Barcelona until 1391, when Jews were expelled.

I invite you to do a light walking tour of about 2 hours around the Jewish quarter, exploring the streets and having a look at the different historical remains of those times.

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