Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Castelo de Vide, Alentejo - Portugal - The Castle and the Jewish Quarter (cont.) - The 24th and 25th of August 2013


Standing on the crest of the hill and surrounded by a vast valley the 13th century Castle built by Afonso Sanches comprises an extraordinary medieval quarter, whose outstandingly well preserved traditions and traces of the existence of a Jewish quarter outside its walls, such as Jewish symbols carved into door frames  and the small Sefardite synagogue itself have turned it into a unique outstanding historical heritage complex.

I wandered about the medieval burg admiring the white washed walls of the houses and the multiple flowers decorating the doors and even some streets. Stopped several times so as to confirm whether what I was looking at was really real, because in all honesty there were times I felt that what I had in front of me was sufficiently magic to be true.

The streets were mostly empty with just a few visitors walking up and down in similar ecstasy to my own. The town is said to have exponentially grown in the late 15th century to accommodate the Jews who had been expelled from Castille but it was not hard to imagine what it must have been like for them, as one could actually "breathe" their presence.

I had to come back the following day so as to visit the small Synagogue my mother had told me I shouldn't miss, despite the fact one was not allowed to take photographs.

I walked back and forth for what turned out to be almost three hours and yet every time I turned around I seemed to find something different that I hadn't noticed before. I felt I was in love with the little medieval town and was not even bothered by the extreme heat.

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