Jewish Heritage in Spain and Portugal

Avila (W, SP)

City Profile Ávila, Spain

One can see vestiges in Ávila of the many civilizations that settled here:  the Celtic Vettones, Romans, Visigoths, Moors…, but it was with the Christian Reconquest that the city acquired the monumental attributes that it is known for today.  It is one of the Spanish cities with the most number of Romanesque and Gothic churches per capita, but is best known for the majestic medieval wall that completely surrounds the city.

Avila is home to both Jewish and Catholic mysticism.  Moshe de Leon, author of the Zohar(one of the main sections of the Cabbala, the major work of Jewish mysticism), lived here.  St. Teresa de Jesús and St. John of the Cross, Spain’s most celebrated mystics, were born here.   Teresa’s father was aconverso, and her writings were greatly influenced by the Zohar.

Avila was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.



Jewish Ávila: