Archive for January 31st, 2020

January 31, 2020

Sephardic and Councilor museums of Toledo!

So bringing you back to another of my favorite cities of my beloved Spain. And many times visited with family nearby over the years, and of course, never enough written on it or pictures! I do have several posts on the city of Toledo, Castilla La Mancha , Spain. I will try to tell you in my next posts the arts and museums of Toledo, but first a bit about the city’s location, good by train and already a post on that over the years the car is my second home.

Toledo is about 71 km (about 44 miles) from Madrid. From Toledo part the N-400, which connects this city with Cuenca by Ocaña and Tarancón.  There is now an excellent  A-40 Autovia or highway of Castilla-La Mancha, that unites Avila with Maqueda (where it links with the Extremadura highway), Toledo, Ocaña (where it joins the highway of Andalusia), Tarancón (where it connects with the highway of Levante, Valencia), Cuenca and Teruel. A former national road 401 Madrid-Toledo-Ciudad Real was transformed at the end of the decade of 1980 in the current A-42.

The general tourist office information is here:

Tourist office of Toledo:

Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on Toledo:

And continuing in my lovely Toledo and with family not far for yeeears of visits it never get me tired of visiting Toledo, for now its a must when in Spain. In the off the beaten paths and not so beaten let me continue with the wonderful museums of the Sephardic Jews and the Councilors of Toledo.

The Museo Sefardí or Sephardic Museum occupies the old Convent of Knights of Calatrava, annex to the Synagogue of the Transit, and it shows historical, religious aspects and of the customs of the Jewish past in Spain, as well as of the Sephardim, the descendants of the Jews who lived in the Iberian peninsula until 1492. In 19642, it was decided that the Synagogue of the Transit or synagogue of Samuel ha-Leví be the seat of the Sephardic museum, which aims to preserve the legacy of the Hispanic-Jewish and Sephardic culture so that it is integrated as essential part of the Spanish Historical Heritage, a task that it performs until today.



The first room shows the history, geography and culture of the Jewish people in the Ancient Near East, where, according to biblical writings, traditions that last in their daily lives originated. Archaeological objects dated between 2000 BC are shown. and the first century A.D. as well as a wide variety of cultural objects related to what it is and what it means to be Jewish, your beliefs and customs. It highlights a Torah, the sacred book of Judaism, formed by the Pentateuch and other liturgical objects.

In the northern courtyard, as a necropolis, some of the tombstones of Jewish characters from various parts of Spain are exposed. In the east courtyard the archaeological remains of some possible public baths of the old Jewish quarter of Toledo and the floor of the old hejal (main wall) of the synagogue are preserved.


The women’s gallery, a special room for liturgical monitoring by the female gender that has the synagogue. As in other cultures, Judaism does not allow women to follow the liturgy from the prayer hall. In this space, which preserves part of its original plasterwork decoration, showcases related to the daily life of the Sephardim are shown: their birth, education, main parties, death, etc.

Tourist office of Toledo: Tourist office of Toledo on the Museo Sefardi

Ministry of Culture and Sports of SpainMinistry of Culture and Sports of Spain on the Museo Sefardi

The Museo de los Concilios or Councilor museum and the Visigoth culture, located in the Church of San Román, has Romanesque paintings from the 13C and an important collection, original and replicas, of goldsmith Visigoth, along with other archaeological finds dated between the 6C to 8C. The Visigothic Council and Culture Museum was created in 1969 as a subsidiary of the Santa Cruz Museum. Having its headquarters in the Church of San Román, it is also known as the San Román Museum. The museum opened in 1971.


The museum in the Church of San Román of which the church origins,are only partial data, could be traced back to the Visigothic period, since a crypt identified as an apse was discovered under the main chapel in 1968 built at that time, although some hypotheses attributed to Roman times by the vaults that support the staircase of the tower. Later it was perhaps used as a mosque since until 1572 Islamic sepulchral lauds were preserved in it. Documentary it is cited as a Latin parish for the first time in the early   12C, in 1125, although the current parish corresponds to the church consecrated in 1221. The tradition places in this church the proclamation of Alfonso VIII as heir of Castile in 1161 by the mayor of Toledo Esteban Illán, buried in one of the chapels.


 The structure is simple: it has a basilica plan with three naves, the tallest and widest central, separated by horseshoe-shaped arches with alternate segments framed in alfiz. They are supported on columns of Roman shaft attached to brick pillars, on which twelve capitals of different sizes are located, of which five are Visigoths, six Mozarabic 9-10C, and one of Byzantine tradition.


The materials that are exhibited in the Museum of the Visigothic Councils and Culture, and that testify to the importance of the Visigothic court of Toledo from the last third of the 6C, come from the funds of the Museum of Santa Cruz, (see this post)  coming from excavations taken to out in the province of Toledo (Vega Baja, Bayuela Castle, Carpio de Tajo, etc.). All the exhibited pieces are the only vestige that are conserve of what were the civil and religious constructions of the city in Visigothic time, since no original construction is still standing. Museography distributes the archaeological pieces in different thematic blocks that help us understand the general characteristics of the Visigothic culture and its material expressions. 

It was essential to dedicate a section in the Councilor museum , understood as assemblies of bishops and nobles presided over by the king, continuing the Roman synodal tradition. Although the celebration of the Councils of Toledo begins already under Roman rule, it will be with the consolidation of the Visigothic state when they receive a real boost. In this sense it is necessary to highlight the celebration of the Third Council, in 589, in which King Recaredo formalized his conversion and that of the Godo people to Catholicism, abandoning Arianism. As of this moment the integration of the Hispanic-Romans in the Visigothic state took place!

Tourist office of Toledo: Tourist office of Toledo on the Museo de los Concilios

And there you go something unique in my lovely Toledo, both must to see. The museums are great but they are in historical architecturally stunning buildings they are awesome, not to mention the goodies inside. Hope you have enjoyed the Sefardi and Concilios museums of Toledo

And remember, happy travel, good health, and many cheers to all!!!


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