Jewish Life in Medieval Spain

12 days / 11 nights

From $4,995

land only per person based on double occupancy | June 7 – June 18, 2017

Tour Highlights: Madrid, Puerta de Alcala, the Prado, Toledo, El Greco Museum, Grand Toledo Cathedral, Cordoba, Seville, Alcazar Palace, Granada, Museum of Fine Arts, The Alhambra, Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens, Barcelona, Church of the Sagrada Familia, Picasso Museum and so much more!

Spain is as rich in Jewish history as it is beautiful.  Learning about the Golden Age of medieval Jewish life and its aftermath is critical to understanding and appreciating the unfolding of Jewish history until today.  The magnificent cities with their striking edifices like the Alhambra in Granada and Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona and the long stretches of olive trees in the countryside make Spain one of the world’s most popular destinations.

The primary focus of our study tour is Jewish Life in Medieval Spain.  Its secondary emphasis is on the world renown art collections found in museums sprinkled across the country, from the Prado in Madrid to the El Greco Museum in Toledo.

About JEWISH EXPLORATIONS

JEWISH EXPLORATIONS is a collaboration between the Philadelphia-based Gil Travel Group, a leader in travel to destinations around the world for over 40 years and Adults Jewish Learning Programs. JEWISH EXPLORATIONS study tours are led by outstanding Judaic Studies scholars whose depth and breadth of knowledge in their chosen fields of expertise is unparalleled. Our programs are designed to be intimate learning opportunities and are limited to no more than 25 participants.  From archaeological sites in Israel to world renowned manuscript collections in England and from the deep South in the United States to the winding alleyways in La Juderia in Spain, JEWISH EXPLORATIONS give you a deeper understanding of the sweep of Jewish civilization around the globe and throughout the span of history.

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12 days | 11 nights | 10 touring days

Included features:

  • International Airfare (for those who purchased the complete package)
  • Group arrival and departure transfers
  • 7 Learning Sessions with Professor Del Barco
  • Comprehensive touring program, including entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
    • 11 days of sightseeing including entrance fees to all sights on itinerary, via a deluxe air conditioned motor coach with English speaking guide.
  • 11 nights accommodation in expertly selected hotels
  • Meals as indicated on the itinerary
  • Cultural events as indicated on the itinerary
  • Gil Travel document kit

Not included features:

  • Airfare (for those who purchased land only package)
  • Travel Insurance (strongly recommended)
  • Tips to guide/driver and hotel staff
  • Meals not included in itinerary and/or beverages
  • Items of a personal nature

 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

For Travel Questions and Registration:For Other Questions:
Ariel Lipszyc
215-568-6655 ext. 239
[email protected]
Moshe Margolin, Director
Jewish Explorations
888-205-9984
[email protected]

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Day 1 - Wednesday, June 7
Fly to Spain

Fly to Spain on your own.  The experts at the Gil Travel Group can assist you in your reservations.

Overnight: Enroute

Day 2 - Thursday, June 8
Arrival to Spain / Madrid
Puerta de Alcalá

Puerta de Alcalá
By Discasto, CC BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Morning: Proceed on your own to the hotel for Introductions and a brief Overview of the study tour.

We will then take a panoramic city bus tour including Puerta de Alcala, “Alcala Gate”, and a monument in the Plaza de la Independencia, “Independence Square”.  We will also see Plaza Colon, known for its unique statues celebrating the voyages of Columbus, view the magnificent fountains of Poseidon and Cibeles.

Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor

Lunch on our own in the Plaza Mayor. This historic setting will serve as a backdrop for our first Study Session on JEWS IN SPAIN AND SPAIN IN JEWISH HISTORY.

Our first museum visit will be at one of the world’s most renowned art museums, the Prado. Dating back 1816, the museum has a very large collection of Old Masters. The Prado holds over 8,600 paintings that span the 12th to 19th Centuries.

In the late afternoon, you will have time to unpack and relax.

Evening: We will enjoy a Welcome Dinner together.

Overnight: Madrid (D)

Day 3 - Friday, June 9
Toledo
Santa Maria La Blanca Church

Santa Maria La Blanca Church

Morning:

After breakfasting at the hotel, we will have our second Study Session on ALFONSO THE WISE AND THE ‘CONVIVENCIA’ AS A CULTURAL PARADIGM. We will board the motor coach for our ride to Toledo.

We will take a Panoramic tour of the city before heading down to the city itself.

Our tour of the city will include the Jewish Quarter, the Samuel Halevi Abulafia Synagogue – which was turned into a church known as Nuestra Senora del Tranisito – the Sephardic Museum and the Santa Maria La Blanca Church (formerly the Grand Synagogue).

Afternoon: After lunch on our own, we will visit the El Greco Museum, dedicated to the painter, and the influence his work and personality had on early 17th century Toledo and the Grand Toledo Cathedral. We will then board our motor coach for the ride back to Madrid.

Evening: We will then go to (optional) services at the Central Synagogue and have an Erev Shabbat Dinner at a local restaurant.

Overnight: Madrid (B, D)

Day 4 - Saturday, June 10
Shabbat in Madrid
National Museum “Centro de Arte Reina Sofia”

National Museum “Centro de Arte Reina Sofia”

Morning: After breakfast at the hotel, we will go to (optional) services at the Central Synagogue.

In the late morning, we will visit the National Library and the Archaeological Museum, both within walking distance of the hotel. Dr. del Barco will use the setting of the National Library to hold the third study session on BACK TO THE SOURCES: MEDIEVAL HEBREW MANUSCRIPTS FROM SPAIN AND IN SPAIN.

Afternoon: We suggest three options if you want to do museum hopping on your own in the afternoon. Taking a taxi is required.

  • The National Museum “Centro de Arte Reina Sofia” is dedicated to contemporary art. Its most famous piece is Picasso’s “Guernica.” You can take a taxi on your own to the National Museum.
  • The Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando with a
    collection of 1500 paintings and over 500 sculptures.
  • The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. With 1,500 paintings, this at onetime was the 2nd largest private collection in the world.

Evening: You are at leisure to enjoy Madrid’s culinary and cultural delights.

Overnight: Madrid (B)

Day 5 - Sunday, June 11
Cordoba
Statue of Maimonides

Statue of Maimonides
By Wzwz, CC BY-1.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Morning: After an early breakfast and check-out, we head to Cordoba, the capital of the Moorish kingdom of al-Andalus. We will experience travelling on one of Spain’s high-speed trains.

We will visit the world-famous Cathedral-Mosque with its 1,000 colored columns and many additions. Afterwards we will enter the Jewish Quarter, including Plaza Tiberias and the Yehuda Halevi Square. The walking tour will continue to view the Statue of Maimonides and then visit the small Moorish-styled building known as the Maimonides Synagogue.

Afternoon: After lunch on your own, we will visit Casa de Sefarad, dedicated to the history of the Sephardic Jews living in Cordoba and Spain prior to the Inquisition and expulsion in 1492, and meet with the people responsible for the creation of this private historical venture in the Jewish Quarter. There we will enjoy our fourth Study Session on ISLAMIC SPAIN (AL-ANDALUS) AND THE ROLE OF JEWS IN ANDALUSIAN POLITICS AND CULTURE.

We will then board our motor coach for the ride to Seville, a city that was shaped by both Renaissance and Arabic influences.   We will visit the Museo de Bellas Artes founded in 1839 in a building dating back to 1602. The museum, one of the most important in Spain, contains works that span from medieval times to the modern times which emphasizes the Seville school.

Evening: You are at leisure to explore Seville on your own.

Overnight: Seville (B)

Day 6 - Monday, June 12
Seville
Alcazar Palace

Alcazar Palace

Morning: After breakfast at the hotel, we will have our fifth Study Session on HEBREW POETRY FROM SPAIN: THE GOLDEN AND SILVER AGES. Afterwards, our first stop will be the Alcazar Palace. Then we are off to visit the Great Cathedral, the burial place of Christopher Columbus and the Giralda, built in the 12th century whose bell tower became the city’s symbol.

Afternoon: After lunch on your own, we will visit the Santa Cruz neighborhood, formerly Seville’s Jewish Quarter, once known as La Juderia, with its winding alleyways and remnants of Jewish life.

Evening: Afterwards, there will be free time to explore Seville and have dinner on your own.

Overnight: Seville (B)

Day 7 - Tuesday, June 13
Granada
Alhambra Palace

Alhambra Palace

Morning: After an early breakfast and check out, we will board our motor coach for the drive to Granada, the last stronghold of the Moors before it fell to Isabella and Ferdinand in 1492.

Afternoon: After lunch on your own, we will enjoy our exploration of the meandering streets and the traditional neighborhood with no physical remnants of the Jewish community but with stories that abound.

We will then visit the Museum of Fine Arts housed in the Palace of Carlos V.  It has works of art dating back to the 15th Century.

The late afternoon is free to rest-up or explore on your own.

Evening: Dinner on your own and evening at leisure.  The Alhambra lit up at night dominates the city.

Overnight: Granada (B)

Day 8 - Wednesday, June 14
Granada
Generalife Gardens

Generalife Gardens

Morning: After breakfast and check-out, we will visit the fabulous Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens. A specially-licensed guide will take us through this UNESCO World Heritage Site. After the tour, Dr. del Barco will conduct the sixth Study Session in the Generalife Garden on the JEWISH EXPERIENCE AFTER THE ‘RECONQUISTA’: CULTURAL AND INTELLECTUAL LIFE IN CHRISTIAN SPAIN.

Afternoon:  The afternoon is at leisure.

Evening: We will enjoy dinner together at a local restaurant      

Overnight: Granada (B, D)           

Day 9 - Thursday, June 15
Barcelona
La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia
By Craig Sunter, CC BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Morning: After breakfast and check-out, we will transfer to the airport for the flight to Barcelona.

After arriving in the late morning, we head out for a panoramic tour of Barcelona including Plaza Espana and the Fountain of Montjuic, where the international Exhibition of 1929 was held and where the Olympic Ring (1992) is found, Passeig Maritim with the Columbus monument, and its Modernist Houses designed by Antoni Gaudi.

Afternoon: After lunch on your own, we will visit Gaudi’s spectacular expiatory Church of the Sagrada Familia.

We will then proceed to our hotel for check-in and time to relax before our seventh Study Session.

Evening: We will have a night on the town together with dinner and flamenco show

Overnight: Barcelona (B, D)

Day 10 - Friday, June 16
Barcelona
Can Framis Museum

Can Framis Museum
By Fpvc, CC BY-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Morning: After breakfast, we begin our focus on Art and Culture. We will stop at the Barcelona Pavilion built by the German Architect Mis van der Rohe for the 1929 Barcelona International Exhibition and continue with a visit to the Miro Museum, Fundacio Juan Miro.

Afternoon: After lunch on your own, we will visit the Can Framis Museum with a collection of 300 works by Catalonian arts.

In the late afternoon, we will return to the hotel to relax before Shabbat.

Evening: There will be optional Shabbat services at a local synagogue.  There will be two to choose from: The Sephardic Orthodox (perhaps most interesting, but difficult to follow along) and the Reform. Our motor coach will make a drop-off and pick-up loop We will then go to a local restaurant to enjoy our Erev Shabbat Dinner together.

Overnight: Barcelona (B, D)

Day 11 - Saturday, June 17
Shabbat in Barcelona
Gothic Quarter Barcelona

Gothic Quarter Barcelona
By Discasto, CC BY-4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Morning: After breakfast at the hotel, there will be optional Shabbat morning services at a local synagogue.

Later, we will depart the hotel for a walking tour of the Gothic Quarter. According to archaeological evidence, there was a sizable Jewish community in Catalonia that existed from as early as the beginning of the Common Era. During our walking tour, we will visit the Picasso Museum and the Old Synagogue.

For centuries thereafter, the Jews of Barcelona managed their own local affairs and lived relatively well in their own Jewish Quarter.

Afternoon: We will enjoy Shabbat lunch together at a restaurant along the way. Walk along the world famous Las Ramblas, the wide central promenade, with all its wonders, stalls and artists.

Evening: We will have our Wrap-Up Session with Dr. del Barco followed by our Farewell Dinner.

Overnight: Barcelona (B, L, D) 

Day 12 - Sunday, June 18
Departure or Trip to Bilbao

Morning: After breakfast and check-out you are on your own to go to the airport or extend your stay.

Jewish Explorations in Collaboration with Gil Travel

**Itinerary is subject to change due to timing and unforeseen circumstances.**

For Travel Questions and Registration:For Other Questions:
Ariel Lipszyc
215-568-6655 ext. 239
[email protected]
Moshe Margolin, Director
Jewish Explorations
888-205-9984
[email protected]

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

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Hotel

HotelLocationDescription 
Melia GalgosMadridThis luxury hotel is complete with modern décor and provides the utmost comfort when travelers are tired from a long day of exploring Madrid.melia
Hotel Las Casas de la JuderiaSevilleAs the former estate of a duke during the 15th century, this hotel lets guests find lavish tranquility.las-casas-de-la-judgeria
Hotel AbadesGranadaThis hotel spa is a luxurious is an upscale getaway, located close to Granada’s historic center.hotel-abades
Zenit HotelBarcelonaZenit is a spacious and comfortable environment for travelers to unwind and relax at their leisure.zenit
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Javier del Barco, Ph.D.  is a Senior Research Fellow in Judaic Studies at the Center for Humanities and Social Sciences in Madrid.  A native of Spain, Dr. del Barco is an accomplished researcher who regularly takes part in academic conferences throughout Europe. He received his Ph. D. from the Complutense University of Madrid, one of the finest academic institutions in Spain and one of the world’s oldest universities. Javier did his post-doctoral work in the Departments of Hebrew Language, Bible and Assyriology at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He also has done research at The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City.

 

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