❤ Your Trip planner
Bespoke travel to Portugal
- Booking & Infoline Open 7 days a week 09.00 - 21.00 Call +351 918354714 or contact us
Modern travel planning, "old fashioned" human service Group & corporate travel
In: | | |

Synagoge of Tomar

FavoriteLoadingAdd to planner! ❤ Go to trip planner!

Tomar, a small, historic town north-east of Lisbon, is best known for the remnants of an impressive Templar fortress and a superb monastery, but less known is Tomar’s synagogue, the oldest existant Jewish prayer house in Portugal.

There must have been a Jewish settlement in Tomar already during the early 14th century, as it is mentioned in an inscription on a gravestone of a rabbi Josef of Tomar who died in Faro in 1315. An official Spanish document issued in Zamora on October 26, 1475 by In October 1475 D. Alfonso V mentions the Jewish community of Tomar in an official Spanish document.

The synagoge of Tomar must have been built in the 15th century, between 1430 and 1460. It was located in the middle of the Judearia (Jewish quarter), on what was later named the Rua nova que foi judaria, the New street that was the Jewish quarter.
The synagogue of Tomar was in use until 1496. Then, King Manuel I ‘‘The Fortunate’ of Portugal issued an edict, giving Jews the choice to convert to Christianity or to leave Portugal.

In 1497 the synagogue of Tomar, Portugal, stopped being a house of worship and was sold and sold and sold until in 1516 it became a prison and in 1543 an Inquisition Tribunal was established in Tomar. The years of the 16th century, when it was transferred to the city hall. An Inquisition tribunal was established in Tomar in 1543, but its activity was stopped in 1548, and it is said that the synagogue was used as a Christian chapel in the early 17th century and then became a hay loft, sold and sold again eventually to a grocer, who used it as his warehouse.
interior-3Finally, probably with the help of its then owner, Joaquim Cardoso Tavares, it was declared a national monument. That was in 1921.
And then came Samuel Schwarz (Szwarc) a Polish mining engineer, who purchased the building in 1923. Samuel Schwarz dedicated himself to restoring Jewish life in Portugal and at his own expense undertook the restoration of the synagogue and in 1939 the building became a museum.
Schwarz and his wife were granted Portuguese citizenship and thus, survived WWII.He dedicated himself to restoring and organizing Jewish life in that country, even serving for a time as President of the Jewish Community of Lisbon. Samuel Schwarz undertook at his own expense the works of cleaning and excavation of the synagogue of Tomar.

Plans to transferring the building to the State of Portugal could not be realised because of a lack of funds. Only in 1939, following a donation by Samuel Schwarz, the building was converted into a museum. In return Samuel Schwarz and his wife were granted Portuguese citizenship that protected them during the Second World War.

The Museu Luso-Hebraico Abraham Zacuto (the Abraham Zacuto Portuguese Jewish Museum), named after Abraham Zacuto (c.1450-c.1522), the author of the celebrated Almanach Perpetuum. Published in Leiria in 1496 that contains mathematical tables that were used by many Portuguese navigators during the early 16th century and later. There are different archaeological findings that attest the Jewish presence in Portugal during the Middle Ages. Among numerous gravestones that form the bulk of the collection, there is an inscription, dated 1307, from the main synagogue of Lisbon, and a second most interesting 13th century inscription from Belmonte, upon which the Divine Name is represented by three dots in rather the same manner as on the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Tomar was one of the places we never missed on our trips and at the time, we had to go to such and such a number on I-forget-which street, to have an old lady open the door for us and lock it after our visit.

I have no idea how it is today, but I still have the synagogue in my heart and in my mind, I still see the four pillars – symbol of the four mothers of Isræl – Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah – that carry ceiling of the twelve arches, supposed to represent the twelve Tribes of Isræl.

Something absolutely fascinating are the acoustics in Tomar’s synagogue. Why? Because they are near perfect and brought about by clay jars sealed upside down into the walls in the four upper corners of the room. And that, believe it or not, was the ingenious traditional method to improve the acoustics used during the Middle Ages for.
The Torah scrolls are being kept in a wooden cupboard. Old stone carvings that apparently ornamented the original structure are exhibited around the room walls.
In 1985 a second small room was discovered, partially below the current street level. This, it turned out, used to be the mikveh – the ritual bath. In this room you’ll find a treasure of artifacts, mostly ceramic bowls and it seems that a well, has been discovered in the patio next to the mikveh.

If ever you find yourself in Portugal, don’t miss this very special building. It is one of the very few of that era that is still standing. Pogroms are international and have destroyed so many beautiful buildings.

Text by Deborah Rey, You can read the original post on her blog

See related: | | |
Type: Medieval Synagogue
Prices from: Actividade gratuida
Times: ask

Book Restaurants || Accommodation |! Leisure activities in Portugal - we help you find and book the best safely at no extra cost.

read about this Point of Interest!


Synagoge of Tomar

Find related items

Some suggestions from our site

From: | | | | |

Vegetariano & Companhia restaurant, vegetarian restaurant, Quarteira, Faro

From: | | |

Estrela da Serra restaurant, Malveira da Serra

From: | | |

Lumiar, Lisbon golf course Team building & Events

From: | | |

Bungee jump water touch, Albufeira, Algarve

From: | |

Restaurant La Bella Tomar

From: |

Hotel Companhia das Culturas , Eco hotel, Algarve

From: | |

Madeira nature jeep tours

From: | | | |

Wild bull tour, Évora, Alentejo

From: |

Inspira Santa Marta hotel, 4 star Eco boutique hotel, Lisbon

From: |

São lourenço Restaurant Abrantes

From: | |

Canoe rafting on the river Paiva, Porto

From: |

Marmoris 5 star hotel Alentejo

We provide bespoke, made to measure solutions for group and corporate travel to Portugal. Accommodation, Activities, Event spaces, Team building, Catering, Restaurants and Transfers are our specialties. See here some of our Customers for Corporate events

BOSE sound systems Loyens & loeff, tax lawyers, Amsterdam van Lint, plants and more, the Netherlands Adecco, HR & recruitement, Portugal RSM, Erasmus university
Airbnb USA alcep Event management France Antena1 Romania Television Ashfield healthcare meetings and events Procter & Gamble Switzerland
Royal Canadian navy forces Laurence B Events, Cannes, France BravoSolution Procurement North Sails USA Lifestyle DMC, Spain
severalnines Deloitte MI GSO particular Multicert
ikea hovione Riverbed, The Netherlands Handels Route, Nederland Southwark city council UK
Cisco Systems, London & Portugal Oliver IT, The Netherlands The Bachelor, Antena TV Viavi Solutions, UK Ibeworld Events, Spain
River side Europe Entero Germany Associacao Escoteiros Portugal Tabaqueira | A Philip Morris International Affiliate TVI Portuguese television
Banco Bai de Angola Voetbal club Estoril Amaris consultancy, Barcelona, Spain Avant investments Czech Republic BMW Portugal
AMC MArketing & Communication, Germany Indigo Destination management, Malaga Neves de Almeida, HR consultancy, Lisbon macdonalds Shell

All content, design and photo's on this site are protected by copyright © All material is our property, we do not allow and will not tolerate any duplication on the internet or on printed matter, without our written consent! Go discover Portugal 2012 - 2016, all articles in the magazine are written by Debora Afonso and may not be used, reproduced other than for personal reference