When it comes to Jewish heritage tours, Kosher River Cruises always aims to provide the best experience for our guests, from embarking on tours through locales of Jewish legacy, to providing delicious kosher cuisine aboard our riverboats.
On our 2020 river cruise along the Douro River, we will explore the heritage of the Sephardic Jews in the Iberian Peninsula. While the majority of our travel destinations for this cruise are situated in Portugal, one of our destinations will be in Spain, the university city of Salamanca.
A University in Antiquity
As the site of one of the three oldest universities in Europe, Salamanca saw plenty of students, scholars and tourists visiting it during its heyday. As part of the “triangular culture” of the Iberian peninsula (consisting of Jews, Christians and Muslims), Jews of Spain also visited this university city, where it was a center of Hebrew learning. Abraham Zacuto, the famed Jewish astronomer and mathematician, was born in Salamanca, taught astronomy at the university.
Jews of Salamanca
Prior to the 1492 expulsion of Jews across Spain, the Jewish population of Salamanca received relatively better treatment than their fellows in other places. When King Ferdinand II of Leon warred with the King of Castille in the 11th century, the Jews of Salamanca assisted the former, and in gratitude, they were granted equal judicial rights with the Christians. From this fruitful engagement, the Jews of Salamanca were allowed to prosper, and despite the varying taxes that they had to pay, the Jewish quarter of Salamanca was unique in how it was not as confining as other Jewish quarters: Some Jews lived outside it, and some non-Jews lived within.
In the present day, Salamanca remains an active university city, catering to students, scholars and tourists from all over the world. Besides the University, other tourist destinations include the Plaza Mayor and the Casa de las Conchas. The Jewish Quarter of Salamanca is here as well, preserved in spite of the ravages of time, a legacy of Jews in Spain.
On our next Douro River cruise, we will visit this historic university town, along with other locales of Jewish heritage in the Iberian Peninsula. Cruise with us in 2020, on fulfilling kosher vacations around the world.