Church of Santa María la Blanca
Toledo, Spain
The building known today as the church of Santa María la Blanca was constructed in the thirteenth-century as the congregational synagogue of Toledo. Many questions remain unanswered about the building's history, but its patron may have been Alfonso VIII of Castile's Minister of Finance, Joseph ben Meir ben Shoshan.

The long, trapezoidal plan is divided into five aisles by octagonal piers, which support an arcade of stuccoed horseshoe arches. The interior ornament consists of relief stucco decoration in the spandrels of the arches and the upper walls of the arcades, and the carved stucco pier capitals.

With its adaptation of an Almohad architectural tradition to a non-Muslim context, the synagogue is representative of Spain's Mudejar architecture, which developed out of the complex interaction between the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish cultures of the medieval Iberian Peninsula.


Dodds, Jerrilyn. 1992. "Mudejar Tradition and the Synagogues of Medieval Spain: Cultural Identity and Cultural Hegemony." In Convivencia: Jews, Muslims, and Christians in Medieval Spain (V. Mann, T. Glick and J. Dodds, eds.) NY: Braziller, 113-131.
Toledo, Spain
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13th c.
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Congregational Synagogue of Toledo
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