La Synagoga del Agua is a 14th century Jewish synagogue and house of the rabbi in Ubeda, Jaen province, andalucia
In 2007, a real estate developer in Ubeda, was converting a building containing a hairdressing salon into holiday apartments when he discovered he was sitting on top of a 14th century synagogue. The ancient walls gradually revealed their secrets, the arches of a Jewish Synagogue, the Women’s Gallery and the Ritual Bath (Mikveh). The initial project was abandoned and in 2010 La Sinagoga del Agua opened its doors to the public.
It has since become one of the most visited attractions in Ubeda and visitors should book a visit to reserve their place on the guided tour. The tour guide speaks Spanish but there is a returnable handout in English.
There are six rooms to the Jewish synagogue, including the Mikvek or bathing room where ritual baths of purification took place, the subject was totally immersed in the water. You will also see the Women's Gallery, where, behind a lattice screen, females could see the ceremony and rituals. The house is believed to have belonged to the rabbi and one of the rooms in the cellar is his storeroom, complete with 14th century bread oven. He had a pretty nifty egg poacher as well.
The house also has a little secret. For centuries it had been called, ‘The House of the Inquisitor’ and its façade still bears the coat of arms of the Holy Office. How did a rabbi’s house and synagogue become part of the machinery of the inquisition?