The Juderia of Cordoba

There’s not much in any of the juderias we visited in Spain to hint at their old function as districts where the Jewish population lived in segregation from their fellow townspeople. Cordoba’s was no different, except for the small, ancient synagogue within its walls. But of the juderias we wandered through, Cordoba’s was certainly the most attractive with its whitewashed buildings, blue trim and flowers. Now dominated by restaurants and souvenir shops, the district still evokes the past and has a few interesting themed attractions, like the museum of torture (we looked in quickly but did not visit) and the ancient, original synagogue from somewhere around the 12th century (I think), which, like the buildings and plazas in the entire Juderia, was tiny.

(Memory fragment, one year later: Lost in the maze of narrow streets and alleys that make up this medieval district, we stopped for a minute to sit on a bench in one of the many tiny plazuelas; wonderful, human-scale semi-public places into which, in some cases, bars and restaurants spilled over. The particular one in which we stopped was deserted, except for Ana and I and a few orange trees. The oranges were small, but looked ripe, so Ana decided to pick one and give it a try. Expecting a burst of ripe sweetness, our taste buds were surprised by an acidic bitterness which prevented us from eating more than a bite.)

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