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History of Synagogue of Cordoba

Synagogue of Cordoba - C/ Judíos Cordoba 14001

This Synagogue does not have a direct access from the street, so it means going through a first courtyard from which you enter a small room or hall with a rectangular shape. At the east side we find some stairs that lead up to the “Tribune” or galleries for women, where these used to go for praying. On the north wall there is an opening that gives access to the prayer room with a quadrangular shape. Here, the upper part of the walls is decorated with plasterworks of “Mudejar” (Moslem) style which also have “ataurique” decorative style consisting of 4, 6 and 8 pointed stars, and vegetal motifs that alternate with inscriptions, mainly fragments from the “Libro de los Salmos” (Psalms book). On the east wall there is a 2,80 meters wide opening, where the “aron” was situated; at both sides of this wall there are two niches or “alacena” (Arab word to express: a type of closet consisting on a hole done on a wall with doors and inside shelves) from the same period or time as the construction of the building. At the right hand, next to that niche, there is an inscription referred to the founder (previously cited).

The architectonic types most similar to the synagogue buildings were not the Greek-Roman pagan sanctuaries, but the bouleutêria or ekklesiastêria from the Greek, where they used to meet to discuss, although it had to be reformed to add a space reserved for the women. That is why they used the basilic type, with columns around a central space and a gallery above the interior columns. The synagogues used to be located on sites near the water and elevated areas, being the highest building. The orientation of the building is determined by the disposition of the Ark or niche where the “Torá” was placed, so that when the prayer enters the synagogue he would be facing Jerusalem. Before entering the prayer room, you had to go through a small hall or a courtyard where there was a pond for the ablutions of the hands and feet.

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