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turismosobrarbe.comComarca de Sobrarbe

Cultural Heritage

Hebrew heritage in Sobrarbe

Hebrew heritage in Sobrarbe

In medieval times there were several Jewish communities in Sobrarbe, the best known of these was the settlement at Monclús which was one of the most important in the kingdom of Aragon.

There were also smaller communities in the towns of Ainsa and Bielsa.

The Jewish population took an active role in the cultural and economic aspects of society life and would sometimes hold positions of great power.

The tragedy of the mass murders and forced religious conversions carried out by the French pastorelli in Monclús in 1320, marked a "before and after" in their history. This lead to the disappearance of the settlement in 1357, although some Jewish families continued to live there for a time.

Their community in Ainsa suffered great persecution in 1391 and had disappeared by 1415 owing to a combination of the Tortosa doctrine dispute and the preachings of Friar Vicente Ferrer.

Those that left joined up with stronger communities such as could be found at Monzón, Barbastro or Fraga.

The actions of the Inquisition against the Jews in the Chistau valley and in Ainsa heralded the final expulsion in 1492 of the few remaining in Sobrarbe. Their possible descendants have appeared in the Balkans, France and Turkey.

During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) there were more than 8.000 Jews among the 30.000 foreign volunteers who came to fight in defense of the Rebublic.
Years later, Jewish refugees fleeing occupied France in the Second World War crossed over into Spain high up at the Bielsa pass .
The tragic reunion between Sobrabenses and Sephardic Jews with Sobrarbe roots probably took place in the nazi concentration camps.


-Archeological site at the settlement of Monclús : partially submerged under the Mediano reservoir.

-Medieval town of Ainsa and Mikvé (Jewish baths) located in the old Jewish quarter.

- Medieval town of Bielsa.

-Chistau valley.

-Paleontology museum at Lamata
, which houses a tombstone with a carving of a menorah and a fragment of pottery bearing Hebrew characters, both found in recent excavations.