Transito Synagogue in Toledo

Toledo is the city of 3 cultures and this top attraction, Sinagoga del Transito is good proof for this name.

The Transito Synagogue also receives the name of the Synagogue of Samuel ha Leví since it was him who sponsored its construction. 

The interior of the building is richly decorated. Along the entire upper part is a stucco frieze with psalms in Hebrew script, interrupted by coats-of- arms from Castile and León. These point to the protection given by Peter L The ceiling has octagonal wood paneling decorated with bows. Following the expulsion of the Jews in 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella gave the synagogue to the Knights of Calatrava. Now housed in the adjoining rooms is the Museo Sefardi, which houses items of interest relating to Jewish-Spanish culture with religious objects, Torahs etc.

 

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Transito Synagogue - Guide

Date of construction

The Transito synagogue was built at the time of Pedro I as king. The dates of its construction were between 1334 and 1369. 

Who was Samuel ha Leví?

Samuel ha Leví was the treasurer of King Pedro I (known as “the cruel”). His family was an important Jewish family,the Abulafia family in the city of Toledo.

Samuel ha Leví served as administrator of an important Portuguese knight and his services became appreciated and he then started to work in different positions for Pedro I. He lived in a famous palace in Toledo known as the Jewish palace. Some critics of the works and influence of Samuel ha Levi have mentioned that despite he built the Synagogue he did not promote schools for the study of the Talmud. History has proved today that he probably had a very complicated life, with many enemies that aimed to obtain his position and who interfered with the King. Samuel ha Levi died in Seville and not in Toledo after having been tortured once Pedro I lost his trust in him. 

We can get an idea of the influence and power of Samuel ha Levi in Toledo and Spain at that time if we consider that the Transito Synagogue was built as an extension of his palace and that this palace reached to the river Tagus: the palace was simply enormous! The only element of the palace that is left is the synagogue. 

Is the visit worth it?

We believe this is a must-do thing in Toledo. Some expert local guides in Toledo our team has consulted mention that they believe the Transito Synagogue is the number two amongst the top attractions in Toledo only after the Cathedral of Toledo.  The fact the Sephardic museum is hosted next to the synagogue makes it even more interesting. 

Sephardic museum in Toledo

The museum is located next to the Synagogue and we stronglt recommend to pay a visit to its rooms. The museum has the official tittle of National Museum for Hispanic-Hebraic legacy. The museum was created in 1968 and has undergone several renovations since that time to adapt it to today´s needs. 

The word Sephardic defines the Sephardic Jews that inhabited Spain and that suffered expulsion from Spain during the middle ages. 

The collection of the museum holds a specialized library and many items of interest including marriage contracts, coins, liturgical items and much more. 

Tickets and tours to Transtito Synagogue

Tickets to access the Synagogue and the sephardic museum are best bought online. They can be purchased from the Spanish cultural ministry website on this link.

You may also want to consider a private guided tour in Toledo.  Private tours provide you with the option to customise your itinerary in Toledo based on your interests. We include here a link to a flexible private tour in which you can opt for 3 or 6 hours tour and request a tour based on your interests (for instant a selection of monuments to visit, or a specific focus in sephardic or jewish Toledo that covers in greater detail than a standard tour the Jewist district of the city.  

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