Full day tour
Duration: 8 hours approx.
Besalú is one of the best preserved Middle Ages towns that we have in Spain nowadays. Located at 132 Kms (82 miles) of Barcelona approximately, it keeps a unique Jewel: a 13th century Mikve, which was discovered in 1965.
We will access the town by foot, crossing its impressive Romanesque Bridge on the Fluvià River that dates from the 11th century, and we will spend the morning enjoying the Medieval atmosphere in this little town full of architectonical treasures ready to be discovered on our walking tour.
We will penetrate its narrow streets where we will be surprised by its ancien Monastries and churches extremely well preserved, but we will pay special attention to its Medieval Jewish district where we can admire the Jewish Gate and the area of the Ancient Sinagogue, which dates from 1264 and was discovered by the archeologist in 2002, been restored recently. Next to the Sinagogue, we will descend to visit the Mikve, that appears to us amazingly well preserved, thanks to the fact that it is been buried since the Jewish Comunity’s departure from the town, on 1436. Thanks to Doctor Grau Montserrat, who devoted many years to study the history of Jews in Besalú, the Mikve was discovered on 1964 and it is considered the oldest Mikve still preserved outside Israel by some scholars.
In the afternoon, we will continue towards Girona, located 33 Kms (20 miles approximately from Besalú).At the arrival we will visit
Girona and its Jewish district
Probably one of the most beautiful cities of Catalonia, touched by the charm of its 4 rivers, the Old city hosts one of the best preserved Jewish districts that can be admired in Europe today. Home of the famous kabalist Moshé Ben Nachman, known as RAMBAN, centre of the spreading of Kabalah in the Iberian Peninsula, the narrow streets and little squares of Girona are the lively testimony of life of few hundreds of Jewish families that had a prosper and peaceful life for many years, but were soffering more and more restrictions since the 13th century,till being expelled from their homes and country in 1492.
We will start crossing one of the bridges on the Onyar River, admiring the colorful façades of the Houses that were attached to the Ancient wall along the River. Once in the Old city, we will walk towards the Portal de Sobreportes, one of the gates of the city already during the roman times. On our way to the Jewish district we will talk about Saint Felix Church, Saint Narcís (Patron Saint of the city) and the famous legend of the flies, so venerated by Salvador Dalí due to this legend. We will also see the Cathedral, dedicated on the 11th century, offering a mingle up of stiles and hosting a esoteric element in its façade.. >
Once in the Jewish district, we will walk on the Main street of the Jewry, called carrer de la Força, pointing on the location of the 2 ancient synagogues, discovering the narrow and dark streets where the famous Kabalists Moshe Ben Nachman (RAMBAN), locally known as Bonastruc Saporta, lived, and feeling some traces of the ancient houses such a mark left in a stone that probably hosted a mezuzah in the past.
We will visit the Jewish Museum, called Centre Bonastruc Saporta, catalan name of RAMBAN, located where one of the 2 synagogues that Girona had before 1492 used to be. The museum offers an interesting look at the History of Jews in Catalonia completed with the exhibition of personal objects and gravestones found in the ancient Jewish Cemetery of Monjuich.