Tuesday, October 28, 2014

TOLEDO: SINAGOGA DE SANTA MARIA LA BLANCA

Our final stop in Toledo was at the Sinagoga de Santa Maria la Blanca, literally the Synagogue of Saint Mary the White, located in the city's Jewish quarter.  Here is one of a number of pavement tiles that appeared to demarcate that neighborhood.


Built in 1180 C.E., the synagogue is considered the oldest standing one in Europe.   In a sense the building epitomizes Spain's multi-cultural, multi-religious history.  Its construction was authorized by the 12th century Christian community as a place of worship for Jews, but it was designed and built by Mudejar (Muslim) architects and engineers!  It is now owned by the Catholic church as a museum.

The synagogue's exterior is unremarkable, but the beautiful series of "horseshoe" columns on its modest-sized interior testify to its Islamic architectural origins.






I thought this last shot succeeded in capturing the architecture--the columns and circular window--in a simple, uncluttered fashion.

Back outside, I spied the following elegant door ornament . . .


and gargoyle downspout.


Leaving Toledo, we crossed the Tagus River on the San Martin Bridge, constructed in the late 14th century and now open only to pedestrian traffic.



I thought this shot's zig-zag composition, including the foreground railing, worked well, although the overcast light conditions left a lot to be desired.

John

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