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In the nineteenth century Jews began to return to Spain and established a synagogue in Madrid in 1917. When Franco’s forces defeated the Republican government during the Spanish Civil War, which from 1936 to 1939, Catholicism was proclaimed the official religion and the synagogues were forced to close. Several Jewish Moroccan families came to Spain after the 1956 antisemitic acts in Morocco and established informal house synagogues. The present Beth Yaacov synagogue was built in 1968 once the 1967 "Religious Freedom Law" was finally passed.
The Jews came back to Madrid around the 1850s where they worked at shopkeepers, bankers, and on the railroads. Because the Jews did not have their own cemetery, they created a special section in the English cemetery. A monument houses the remains of Gustave Bauer, Manolin Bauer, and Ida Luisa Bauer who were involved in the Rothschild banking. An additional thirty tombs remain as a reminder of the small community that lived here in the early twentieth century.
Devour Madrid allows you to discover Madrid on a personal, small group food tour! This walking tour is a culinary experience enjoyed by both visitors and locals and is a fun outing for the entire family. You will discover the ingredients and people behind the authentic Spanish dishes and will learn about the history and culture of Madrid as you visit the best food shops, bakeries, markets, and tapas bars. There are several food tours to choose from including an evening tapas tours, flamenco and tapas tours, wine and tapas tours, tapas and history tour, and Prado Museum and Botin lunch tours. If you're a foodie looking to eat your way through the city while learning about the Madrid culture and history, this tour is for you.
The Spanish culture owes a lot to its Jewish and Arabic ancestry and this tour will demonstrate the rich heritage through food and dance. You will walk through the oldest parts of Madrid and hear stories of the Sephardic Jews that lived in Madrid until their expulsion in the 15th century. While you sit in a centennial hidden area, a dancer will explain the roots of Flamenco, a dance that was born for people to express anguish after their prosecution. You will learn the basic hand and feet movements of this dance and you will clap castanets. After the dancing, you will end the tour in an old gourmet market that still has traditional Spanish foods that were around in the 15th century. You will have the opportunity to taste 3 different wines and some traditional tapas. This tour takes you through the Spanish flavors and sounds from five centuries ago and is a unique experience to learn about Spanish culture and history that you won't get anywhere else.
This tour is lead by true Madrileños, born and raised in the fabulous city and excited to share their insider knowledge and tips with you. Though your time in Madrid might be limited, this tour is a great investment and you will leave with a ton of knowledge on historic sites and with great ideas on how to spend the rest of your vacation. On this 3 hour leisurely walk through the historic city center, you will have a chance to take in the sites and flavors of the city. Along with your trusted guide, you will explore the cultural highlights and trace the history of Madrid from its medieval beginnings to modern times. Today, Madrid is the thriving capital of Spain, and your guide will fill you in on the latest news, shows, and exhibitions. The Madrid Briefing tour will help you understand what to do, what to see, what events brought Madrid to where it is today, and where the best social and cultural events are taking place during your visit.
This trendy cocktail bar and cafe has just about everything you could want: a stylish interior, friendly bartenders, creative cocktails, delicious carrot cake, free WIFI, and a romantic atmosphere. It's also dog-friendly, so you are sure to see locals sipping on coffee and cocktails with their furry friends. Cafe Madrid is a perfect place to wind down in the evenings, in an inviting ambiance with nice background music and dim lighting. This is truly a hidden gem of Madrid that you don't want to miss.
La Escudilla is a kosher restaurant located in the Camberi neighborhood, next to the synagogue Beth Yaacov. Since 2002, the Susana family has run the restaurant and all of their Glatt Kosher meat is supplied by their own sister butchery in Madrid. The restaurant's tasty cuisine comes from North Africa and Sephardic roots, which combine together to produce authentic and flavorful dishes. 40 guests can fit in La Escudilla's two dining rooms, making it a perfect space for large groups and banquets.
Falafeleria has one main purpose: to serve a warm pita bread bursting with flavors and stuffed with the freshest vegetarian falafel, veggies, and hummus. Every pita is made special, and you get to choose from a variety of toppings to make your falafel unique. Choose from their fresh hummus, Sjug, Amba, tahini, vegetables, and herbs, most of which are prepared in-house. Their hummus, on the other hand, comes from their sister restaurant, La Hummuseria. Like their sister restaurant, Falafeleria uses only real ingredients, never adding preservatives or additives, inspired by the middle east for their strong, high-quality flavors. This hip restaurant recently opened in the beginning of 2018 and is located in the heart of Madrid in the Malasana neighborhood.
Leticia is a Madrid tour guide who is full of enthusiasm, stemming from her constant curiosity and desire to learn more and more about the city. She never stops searching for knowledge and new experiences and has studied culture, art, archeology, and philosophy. All of the knowledge she has acquired, she wants to share with the tourists who visit her hometown and she goes about it in a way that will make you excited to learn about the unique city. Before being a tour guide, Leticia worked as a university professor where she had several publications; she currently still participates in international seminars. In her free time, she likes to explore new areas of the city and continue to learn so that she can stay up to date and share as much information as possible with her tour groups.
Emily was born in Dublin, Ireland where she graduated with honors with a degree in Spanish and Cultural Studies from the University of Cork. She had always dreamt to live in Spain and finally made the big move in 2001. For over six years now, Emily has worked in Madrid tourism as a tapas tour guide taking tourists to the best local tapas bars in town. dream come true, she is now happily living in Madrid and has worked for over 6 years in Madrid tourism as a tapas tour guide. She enjoys sharing her knowledge on the Madrid's food scene and is always willing to give recommendations for things to do in Madrid. Emily is a very enthusiastic tour guide and you will leave her tours feeling like tapas pro!
Esther is a licensed Madrid tour guide who has a strong passion for the city she was born in. She became a tour guide just a few years ago because she decided it was important to show visitors the natural way of Madrid and not just the top attractions and highlights. Esther's goal is to make tourists feel like locals for the day and take them to some of the places less traveled. Don't worry, you can still get insight into the city's famous attractions, but Esther adds a personal touch that you won't get traveling in a large group or on your own. Esther attended a historically significant high school in Spain, which was founded in 1346. It was here when her passion for Madrid began as she began to discover the art and history around the school. While she tried living in other cities, she was always pulled back to Madrid. There is something about the Debod Temple sunsets, enjoying tapas with friends, local summer festivals, hiking the beautiful mountains, rooftop cocktails, and chocolate con churros that she couldn't find anywhere else. On a tour with Esther, you will explore the city like a local and get to experience what it's like to live in this incredible city.
Whether you’re out sun-seeking or sightseeing, Spain has more to offer than just good food and good weather. Home to the original ‘Sephardim’ (‘Spanish Jews’ in Hebrew), Spain is rich with stories and evidence of its Jewish population’s history and culture, right up to the community’s 1492 Expulsion. So wherever you find yourself roaming the country or exploring the city, there’s always something new and unexpected to discover: synagogues built like mosques and converted to churches or statues of Jewish celebrities, Spain has it all, with some breathtakingly beautiful views. Cáceres- Barrio de San Antonio A UNESCO World Heritage City since 1986, this isn’t the least of Cáceres’ charms. Fascinatingly, the city is an early example of religious coexistence; Cáceres was populated by Jews, Moors and Christians in the 11th century. Stop by the Old Jewish Call and observe the one-story houses stacked on top of one another in all of their chaotic glory, and the Plaza Mayor, where Jews sold, shopped, kvetched and plutzed. The nearby Cáceres Museum offers a wealth of information, and for the more eagle-eyed tourist, around the corner at number 30 Barrio de San Antonio de la Quedabra Street is a street sign recalling the city’s past Jewish population – two stars of David. Girona - Catalan Jewish Museum, the Centre Bonastruc ça Porta And now to Spain’s very far East – Girona. Girona’s beauty – the hilly Capuchins to the east of the river Onyar; the modern town on the plains of the west – is breathtaking and varied. Nowadays, Girona is a popular day trip for tourists from Barcelona. It’s Jewish past, dating from the late 9th century, isn’t completely obvious at first glance; for that, you have to dig a little deeper. Take a visit to the Centre Bonastruc ça Porta – the Jewish Museum, within the boundaries of the Jewish ‘Call’ (quarter) and the site of Girona’s last synagogue–details all areas of medieval Spanish-Jewish life, including the most famous Jewish Gironan of all, the celebrated Talmudist Nahmanides. Barcelona Barcelona – city of Dali, Gaudi and good food. But did you know that Barcelona’s ‘Aljama’, Jewish community, was one of the largest of medieval Spain, comprising 10% of the city’s population? After the 1391 attack on the city and 1492 expulsion, all that’s left of Barcelona’s magnificent Jewish heritage is the layout of its streets. For some light-hearted relief, the Barcelona Jewish film festival and European Day of Jewish Culture celebrations take place in the city on the first Sunday of September. Besalu The community of Besalu began as an overflowing community (think synagogue on High Holidays)from the nearby Call of Girona, and, like most good Jewish communities, produced some well-known doctors (amongst them notables like Abraham des Castlar, personal doctor to Peter IV of Arragon, and Bendit des Logar, two of the leading physicians of the time). Besalu’s main claim to fame? It has one of the only three medieval mikvehs throughout Europe. If the heat gets too much, take a look around a fancy house of the time: the Cultural Centre Curia Real, a former home of notable Jewish family the Astrucs, has cultural clues and all round interesting items to satisfy your curious urges. Toledo Toledo, close to Madrid, is the city of walls, silk and swords and one of the most important Jewish cities of medieval Europe. Other than the famous ‘Escuela de Traductores’ (School of Translators), the Jewish quarter (‘Juderia’)’s two remaining synagogues (out of Toldeo’s original ten) are unmissable. The Sinagoga del Transito is a two-in-one attraction - built in 1366, nowadays it contains the Museo Sefardi, detailing medieval Jewish life in Toledo. The Sinagoga of Santa María la Blanca also has an interesting story – permission to build it was granted when the King was in love with a Jewish woman. It was later converted into a church. The path of true love never did run smooth… Oviedo- Asturias. Known as the ‘Capital of Paradise’, unfortunately, nothing original of Oviedo’s Jewish heritage remains in the old Jewish quarter. The city is, however, skilled at commemorating what used to be there. There are many things to ‘not’ see in Oviedo: wander over to the Campoamor Theatre and look for ghosts –below your feet is what used to be the Jewish cemetery, memorialized by a plaque on the side of the theatre. In Juan XXIII Square, a lonely plaque on a pharmacy tells readers that they are in the historic Jewish quarter. Most excitingly, perhaps, just east of the theatre, is the commemorative statue of Woody Allen. Yes, you’ve read that correctly. And no, we don’t see the connection either. Estella The only quarter on our list which was built between a castle and a former prison’s bridge, Estella’s community was the third richest and most powerful in the region. Walled in on its remaining three sides, it is this which hopeful tourists come to see. Perhaps the second most famous Jewish wall in history, it’s 300 meters of white limestone, topped with part of a remaining tower. Unfortunately, no actual remains of any other Jewish community buildings are present. Two churches within the quarter – San Pedro de la Rua and the Santa Maria jus del Castillo – are former synagogues. Climb up Zalatambor Castle for some spectacular views. Segovia The undulated shape and seven gates of the Segovian Jewish quarter sets it apart from the rest of the city. Segovia’s Jewish history is what might best be termed ‘hidden’. There’s a hotel on the site of a famed converso rabbi’s house. Large arches stand, without their gates. Where there was once three synagogues, two dedicated Talmud schools, a Jewish hospital, cemetery, butcher, ovens and baths, there are now a collection of generic buildings with some lovely scenery and views – the community was forced to liquidate their assets at the time of the expulsion. Happily, within the quarter is the Jewish Quarter Educational center, which is also the former home of an illustrious descendant of converted Jews. Tudela The Jews of Tudela were a bit different from most other communities on our list. They were the last Jews to leave Spain, holding out against the expulsion edict until 1498. They are also responsible for bringing to the world-famed Jewish scholar, Judah Ha-Levi and famed 12th-century traveler Benjamin of Tudela. The Jewish quarter is divided into the old, ‘Vetula’, and linked to the new quarter by two parallel streets. Vetula’s top attraction is the Old Synagogue, and the ‘Manta’ – roll – of Tudela, a list of conversos (forced converts) from the 17th century. The new quarter is just a stroll away, the place where the Jews took in other Spanish-Jewish refugees and clustered together during their last 6 years in the country. Monforte de Lemos To the North, and to a very distinct community in Galicia. The Jewish community of Monforte de Lemos was known for their silk and silverware trades. Unusually, the community here were permitted to come and go as they pleased, unlike other Jewish Calls throughout medieval Spain. Pescaderías street offers some of the best views of the city, including 700-year-old walls and watchtowers. The house of the most important family, the Gaibores, still stands in the quarter, and is definitely worth a visit. Carry on walking a little further and you’ll encounter the ritual baths, the site of the old synagogue and the city’s old prison.
The Gran Hotel Ingles is the oldest hotel in Madrid and first opened its doors in 1886. While the hotel has since been restored and converted into a more modern luxury hotel, it maintains many of the same classic features for the 19th-century. In 1892, the hotel became well-known and was published in newspapers around the world. The Gran Hotel Ingles was refurbished in 1964 and private bathrooms were added to each of the rooms, lowering the room count from 110 to 58. Today, the hotel stands as a glorious building in the center of Madrid where it is known for its David Rockwell textures, bronze furniture, and leathered panels. Guests enjoy being pampered in the wellness center and drinking 5-star cocktails at the classy cocktail bar. There are also plenty of private dining spaces and meeting rooms for larger groups who come to Madrid for celebrations, company meetings, and holidays. The staff at The Gran Hotel Ingles want to give you an unforgettable experience and the hotel's personal touches don't go unnoticed.
Hotel Unico is housed in a 19th-century palace that was transformed into a luxurious boutique hotel. This hotel boasts high ceilings, large windows, and 44 elegant modernly decorated rooms, and guests often enjoy the peaceful garden-courtyard and open-air lounge. The hotel's restaurant, Ramón Freixa, was awarded 2 Michelin stars and named “Best Restaurant in Madrid” at the prestigious Madrid Fusión event. At Ramon Freixa, they have a "cuisine is art" motto and try to create a unique experience for their diners by adding lots of flavors and providing aesthetically pleasing dishes. The main staircase and marble mosaics are likely to catch your eye and the warm colors and spacious rooms will make you feel as if you are staying at a private residence of one of Madrid's wealthy aristocrats. You can work out in the hotel's fitness center, get a relaxing massage in The Wellness Suite, and even tune into the hotel's Spotify playlist for a range of local and popular music. Hotel Unico is not just a hotel, it's an experience that is sure to enhance your stay in the beautiful city of Madrid.
In the center of Madrid between the Chamberi, Tribunal, and Chueca districts lies URSO Hotel & Spa, a palace-turned-5-star hotel that has maintained its royal character while incorporating modernity, luxury, and comfort. Some of the palace's central features such as the towers, central patio, beautiful stained-glass windows, library, marble floors, and wooden walls have been maintained over the years, giving the hotel a historic touch. The URSO Hotel & Spa wants to create a space of maximized wellbeing which is why they operate a full spa, also made available to the public. This small oasis allows you to relax in the center of Madrid with rejuvenating treatments and personalized messages. The hotel also comes with a hairdresser, 24/7 Technogym, cocktail bar, and several dining facilities. Besides the cocktail and champagne bar, there is the Conservatory which services a traditional breakfast buffet as well as hot national and international gourmet dishes. This space has huge stained-glass windows, allowing hotel guests to dine with a sky view and natural light in a well-kept garden surrounded by palms and natural beauty. URSO Hotel gives you an experience unlike any other, where you can be pampered and enjoy a relaxing business trip or holiday vacation.
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