Discover Jewish Palma de Mallorca, Home of the Hidden Communities
Mallorca, the Sephardic island, was for hundreds of years home to a sizable Jewish population that can be traced back to the 5th century. It was an important center for cartography where Jews played a pivotal role. The famed map-maker Jafuda Cresques, who according to legend drew the maps used by Christopher Columbus, was recently honored with a statue in the Jewish quarter of Palma.
Repression during the 14th and 15th centuries led to forced conversions. These Crypto-Jews, publicly professing Catholicism while privately adhering to Judaism, remained for a long time true to their faith. Private homes secretly adapted rooms to be used as makeshift synagogues. Called Xuetas by the Catholic locals, they lived for centuries in their own quarter where signs of this secret community are still found today. Times have changed and after many centuries some descendants of Jewish families have begun again to consider and embrace their heritage. One of these, Rabbi Nissan Ben-Avraham, born in Mallorca in 1957, was years after his re-conversion ordained as an orthodox rabbi in Israel in 1991.
Our tour starts in the oldest Jewish quarter dating back to the Muslim era of Mallorca, the Call Menor, and continues through the narrow, twisting streets to the medieval Jewish quarter. The Call Major is home to remnants of synagogues with Jewish life preserved in street names like Calle Argentera, where the goldsmiths worked.
You can also visit the park where the old Jewish cemetery used to be and walk the streets where the descendants of Mallorcan Jewry live to this very day. The Museum of Jewish Memory (Museu de Memoria Jueva) has a permanent exhibition about the history of the Sephardic Jews in general and the Crypto-Jews of Mallorca in particular. Here you can also learn about today's Jewish community, re-established in 1971.
Let us make your stay in Palma an unexpected experience. Come taste the flavor of the famous crespells, a Mallorcan Jewish pastry, and encounter dimensions of Mallorcan life you never before considered! (not included in the price).
Jewish and General Palma
4 hour tour
Discover Palma de Mallorca’s Old Jewish Quarter with your guide. Explore the narrow winding cobbled streets of the Call Menor and medieval city centre, walk along the Call Major where you will find the remains of the Palma's original synagogue, continue along Calle Argentera and Calle Sol to the Church of Sant Bartomeu and discover the beautiful hidden patios dating back to the 17th Century and the cultural Jewish influences that are still evident today.
The tour continues into Palma City Centre, explore the maze of cobbled streets, plazas, enchanting hidden courtyards, the amazing architecture of the old city’s Gothic Quarter and stop in the Old Town at one of the oldest ‘Ensaimadas’ (local cake) bakeries in Palma where you can enjoy a coffee and a delicious cake (not included in the cost) that are still being produced from the original oven dating back to the 16th Century.
This is private tour and customized for each client.