Huesca articles

Number 2. May of 1998. Spanish language  Principal menu

Neighborhood of the Jewry of Huesca

The "Judaria" or Jewish neighborhood of Huesca, was located to the West of the City, in the outside and between the Ramián door and the church of San Ciprián. It were located since, in what currently it is known as Neighborhood New (Barrionuevo), between the stone wall that was surrounding the urban kernel and the land wall that was fencing the place in which the Jews were living. This place could stay closed, as attests it a document of the year 1.251, in the one which Jaime I the Conqueror, permits the "aljama" (Jewish neighborhood), to close their doors between on Saturday Holy and on Sunday of Glory, for avoiding the step of the Christians that are directed the church of San Ciprián. Its seems be that there were doors in all the crossings of the neighborhood, being known some of its names, as are: the Greater Door in the street of The Silversmiths, that of San Ciprián (or Of The Fountains) in the surroundings of this church; and that of Salceras.

The fact that existed three synagogues, supports the hypothesis of the fact that they could exist three neighborhoods also; however, the found documentation, though coincides with the three sentence houses, warns us of the concurrence of a streets studding (Neighborhoods or careers) and alleys of those which are known the following: greater career, neighborhood and career of Xixena, neighborhood of Amalbel, neighborhood of the Silversmiths, career of Silversmith, neighborhood of donates Marquise of Fraga, neighborhood of the Synagogue, neighborhood of the working of the silk, career of the Fontains of the Jewry, neighborhood of San Cebrián, career of Amillyas, neighborhood of the Smaller Synagogue, "cantón of the zabatería" of the Jews, and "alcazaría". Maybe, some of the cited neighborhoods, it was called New in the beginning of the XIV th Century. The principal artery of said neighborhood, was the greater career, that were split into two sections, separated by the "alcaicería" or market. Was since, a commercial route that were begun as compared to the door of the Ramián (opened in full stone wall), and was ending in the porch of San Ciprián. Alcaicería, would be to half of the street, in a little square known thereinafter as "square of the Cabbages" .

San Jorge StreetThere are two documents originating from the Montearagón Abbey, at the years 1.238 and 1.279, in those which the Abbot concedes the property of several shops to Jews, in exchange for given taxes (between 70 and 100 salaries) per year. Nevertheless, this Abbey was not monopolizing the shops of the Jews; in the grant of 1.238, remains well clear that exist other Jewish property shops. Of other part, the feminine Monastery of Sigena, has also some properties and thus, in 1.275 relinquishes a to Azach abin Pizma, in exchange for a tax of 8 salaries.

They are known some activities of the Jewish shops; to know: medical, surgeons, grocers, silversmiths, dyers, tailors, cobblers, ragpickers, merchants, and lenders. They had other trades: the oven and bakery and the butcher's shop. On the other hand, they do not seem auspicious the bricklayer trades or carpenter; these, it were them relied to Moors and Christian.

The Jewish house, in its basic elements, it was not presenting large differences with respect to the other housings that were occupying the Christians or Moors of the city of Huesca, at that time.

The mean customary house of Huesca, were composed of two plants, corral and warehouse. A complement of the house, was the inheritance, that was consisting of a set of rustic goods (fields, vineyards and orchards) thanks to those which were seated economically the family. Also the cattle, was reinforcing the economy of the house.

The character eminentemente agricultural of the medieval house of Huesca given, it does not has nothing of stranger that in 1.381, the Sir king Pedro IV, declared that the wealth of the Jewry, was depending largely, on the cultivation on the vineyards and on the fields. This same, might be able to do extendible to the rest of the neighbors of the city, Moors and Christian. With respect to the cattle-raising, is known by a decision taken by the advice of Huesca, that the Jewry was faculty to have hundred small cattle heads (goats and ewes), with right to communal grasss, previous payment of a rate of two salaries by head and year.

Ricardo del Arco, based on sources of the Municipality, indicates that in the beginning of the century XIV, the Jews of Huesca were living in 108 houses. Of other part, Baer asserts that by mid that century, the neighborhood is composed of 150 members and that in the Jewry were living some 300 15-year-old greater males; what would suppose, according to this author, some 200 families, with a population between 1.000 and 1.500 Jews. To fiscal effects, these figures (108 houses and 150 inhabitants could be taken as certain. The first figure (108), would correspond to the number of neighboring subject to taxes; and the second, to the total of the families of the Jewry (included taxable and exempt). That is to say: 108 houses with taxable goods and 42 poor houses.

In the last hundred existence years of the Jewry in Huesca, the demographic decrease is possible to two very labeled circumstances. For a side, it is the persecution of 1.391; and additionally, the conversions to the christianity on account of the Dispute of Tortosa on the year 1.415. Exist a recovery of the neighborhood, that arrives to reach its maximum density around the end of first half of the century XV (that is attributed to the protection excused by the real house of Aragón); but there is an important declivity in second half of that same century, in the one which assuredly, they were numerous the conversions and the Jews emigration.

Mozárabes StreetThe social classes of the Jewry, appear in a "taccaná" (interior regime norm dictated by the neighborhood) of the year 1.340, for which was regulated the satisfaction of the taxes to the fact that they were obligated the males of 15 or more years old (according to Baer, they were some 300). With the data of this researcher, the high class of the Jewry of Huesca was formed by some 80 males Jews, that were paying some taxes of 20 annual salaries. The middle class, would form it other 80 and would pay 10 salaries. The low middle class, they were some 90, encumbered with 5 salaries. To the low class, were belonging 50, whose goods were inferior to 50 salaries and they were exempt of the taxes. Other group, were constituting it the disinherited, who at the same time, were forming two groups smaller: that of servants and that of poor of solemnity . The students of the rabbinical school, were belonging to all the social classes, and they were exempt of taxes.

The existence of the three rich classes you hold to fiscal regime, it is withdrawal by the ordinances promulgated by the king Pedro IV in 1.374 (was calling them "man maior", "man miana" and "man minor"). Representative four of each rich class (elected by the early), formed the Council of the Twelve to which was attributed to him the character of Superior Organism. The aljama (Jews neighborhood), commissioned with understanding in the trades election and in the bylaws draft for the good march of the community.

The existence of two or more Synagogues in the Jewry of Huesca, it is testified by the record of the Aljama celebrated in 1.393, that was gathered in the Greater Synagogue ( "all the others synagogues, closed" ).

In fact, it consists that they had three: the Great, the Median and the Small, about those which have been preserved some news. Some studious, as Mr. Naval Más, they consider that alone there were two synagogues, being the Median and the Small, the same. On the other hand, Mr. Antonio Durán Gudiol estimated that they were three, as is attempted to demonstrate below. The Greater Synagogue, where were tending be celebrated the "aljamas" (Jews parties), was located about current I Sew, as compared to the stone wall of the city. The data that of she have to be, correspond to real estate merchantings that confront the same. After the expulsion of the Jews, became property of the Sangüesa family.

In an inheritance statement of the converses Yolant Santvicient, accomplished in 1.456 for their children Pedro and Domingo Santvicient, is appointment a house in the Jewry, adjacent with the Jewry was mediating, that it could be located in the center of the neighborhood.

In the western extreme of the Jewry, were found the Small Synagogue, about the door of San Ciprián and of the church of the same titular, that was would be of the neighborhood. To judge by the works accomplished in 1.482 and 1.483, this synagogue was a building of reduced dimensions, of rectangular plant, preceded of an atrium, in whose second plant were found the Tribune of women; and with two doors, a to Setting and other to the North. In 1.482, the early of the "aljama", recognized the work (probably of masonry) accomplished in the small synagogue by master Mahoma Malferig (Moor of Zaragoza) that worked in a tribune. 3 of April of 1.483, the priors of the same, Zabadías Axech and Salomón Cohen contracted the banks construction with the Christian, Jayme of Abellä. They were seat banks followed with support and dust-guard, leant to the walls, about the synagogue. It was agreed that the work is completed through other two banks under the tribune of the Synagogue and with a runed bank. The total price of the carpentry, was fixed in 300 salaries.

Neighborhood of the Jewry mapTo be a rabbi of the Jews of Huesca, was one of the ordinary trades of Aragon, whose appointment was corresponding to the King, at least from principle of the century XIV. Probably, it was tried greater rabbi with jurisdiction on the Jewrys of the bishopric to Huesca-Ayerbe, Jaca and Barbastro. An example of the real intervention in the election of the greater rabbi, is found in the appointment of the rabbi Azach Arrondí, of the Jewry of Huesca, ordered by the king Juan II, against the pretension of the own "aljama", of giving the trade to a Jewish strange to the same.

As meaningful datum of the importance of the rabbi in the Jewry of Huesca, agrees take note of the fact that in the year 1.480, the community counting on the service of nine rabbis. The greater Synagogue, in addition to titular rabbi, was served by a "chantre" or singer and by a rabbi or sacristan. Other rabbis would be to the front of the others synagogues, of the writter and of the rabbinical school.

An assistance service, dependent of the greater synagogue, was the Hospital of the Jewry. According to the documents of Montearagón, referring to the property shops of the Abbey, six of these establishments were limiting in 1.279 with the "Espital" (Hospital) of the greater Synagogue, institution destined poors help and sick. In the record of 1.393 is mentioned the Hospital of the Jewry, whose antecedent is found in the "Helemosina of iudeis", documented in 1.164.

A special attention, deserves the confraternity of the digs graves whose "tacaná" was approved by the infant Alfonso in written dated in Zaragoza 21 of January of 1.323. The confreres were organized in seven groups that was alternated in the work; they was compelled to dig the graves of dead of the Jews that lived in the city of Huesca in a cemetery that seems be was located behind of the San Jorge Hill, together to the road of Loreto. The quarries, they had to of be made by day, being able to work them at night by agreement of all or of most of the members of each group. They were excused of this work, those which could not go to that work by their sluggishness and the greats of 60 years. To the front of each group, there was a chief with the mission of citing to the shift confreres and to indicate the hour to dig the grave. The work of the grave diggers was not free but compensated by the early, who were satisfying each group of they, three monies by the children and six by that of greater of four years. If the men were working at night, were perceiving eight monies, but if were employing two days, then were them remunerated with twelve monies. The confraternity, was having the necessary chattels to bathe to the dead and to keep them in accessible place; was naming two men for the funeral bath and other to proclaim the deaths. The confreres were obligated to attend the funerals that was celebrated on Saturday in the Synagogue, and if the dead was belonging to the confraternity, they would have of attending (in Saturday also) to pray in the Synagogue to the one which was tending to attend the deceased.

The confraternity was to open to men and women, that was compelled to visit on Saturday, the sick. It is possible that they had religious character, the same as the Christian confraternities.

Church of San Ciprián.- The origins of this church, grub the visigotics times, staying with the Musulman occupation and when the neighborhood was inhabited by the Jews. Nevertheless, its ruins were visible in the century XVII. Seem be that was a church of three apses, oven vault and with arches, that still were preserving the capitals in the beginning of the century XVII. The construction was of ashlars of stone cutting of good quality. Of this manner, the church had a head-board something similar to that of the church of San Peter the Old. Maybe its construction corresponded in the beginning of the century XII, since Huesca demonstrated in that era much activity in the construction. In a plan of the century XVIII, remain indicated in a neighborhood that is called of San Ciprián, a building that is not specified. Since it was not existing any other worthy building of be mentioned, since the synagogues disappeared before that the churches (the synagogues let of exercising functions around the end of century XV), it is easy that that allusion in the plan, it would be for the church of San Ciprián. This church was parochial, though not even was having baptismal battery.

Convent of the "Capuchinas".- The religious arrived to Huesca in 1.648 and during four years stayed in a house, until the convent would be ended (together the church devoted to Our Mrs. of the Pillar), something that occurred in 1.671. The building is large and simple, with brick facade. The church is of a ship with cruise. To the south of the church, the remaining blocks, form an interior courtyard.

The Bibliography: "The Jewry of Huesca", by Antonio Durán Gudiol. ** "Huesca XVIII th century", by Antonio and Joaquín Naval Más.

* Manuel Tomé Bosqued.

  Hay más artículos !!Upper Aragon, Literary Articles (Huesca, Spain)

 Visite Huesca, le sorprenderá ....