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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Girona mikveh located and uncovered

Archaeological research confirms the existence of the mikveh on the site of the third and last of the Jewish Quarter's synagogues prior to the expulsion of the Jews

In 1492 King Ferdinand's expulsion of the Jews forced the Girona Jewish community to sell its synagogue together with the surrounding community areas. Thanks to documents of sale preserved in the archives, the site of the synagogue has now been located to the north-east of what is today the Bonastruc ša Porta Centre, on the upper patio level. That was the location of the rooms used to perform Jewish rites, the hospital and the baths.
In the upper courtyard of the centre a team of archaeologists from the University of Girona carried out an archaeological dig from February 10th to 21st February 2014. Several medieval structures have been discovered: a closed rectangular pool with a depth of 1.5 metres, with a long, low lintel and a flat area of stone slabs providing access to the water; a small adjacent chamber located on the western side, with its original rectangular adobe paving; a single doorway in the southern wall, today bricked up; and a water tank, some two metres to the south, a rectangular structure made of stone and mortar 50 cm deep, with its drain that passes towards the pool room.
All of the documented structures were covered with earth and re-used between the late 15th century (the tank) and the mid-16th century (the room adjacent to the pool). These are the remains of the ritual baths or mikveh used by the Girona Jewish population from 1435 until the time of its expulsion.

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