During Medieval times, the Jewish community lived in different parts of Galicia. The town of Tui would accommodate one of the most important communities, as it was the place selected by the Hebrew community during the 14th and 15th centuries, who also settled in other coastal towns as Baiona or others located nearby as Salvaterra de Miño.
Tui has been the link between Galicia and Portugal. This is evidenced by the transformations of its historic centre. Moreover, the only cathedral in the province of Pontevedra, witness of the development of the town along the years, is located there. The town, on a bank of the Miño River, was privileged to be one of the seven provinces of the Galician Reign.
According to the written evidence, the Jewish community decided to settle at its historic centre, inside the wall, and be under the protection of the bishopric. It has also been recorded the existence in the town of a synagogue, a cemetery and houses inhabited by members of the community.
The butcher's, so important for the kosher rites, was run by Pero Xudeu. The silver objects, now kept in the Museo Catedralicio, were made by silversmiths as Abraham, Jacob or Pero Amin, among others. There are also important works by stonemasons who, generation after generation, used their own signs, being especially remarkable the menorah of the Gothic cloister, which represents the integration of the Jewish into the Cristian community.
Tui also had a synagogue, located next to the Porta da Pía, at the entrance of the town. The word pía is related to the Jewish ritual bath or micveh, located in the courtyard of the synagogue, in Ordóñez Street. Nearby, close to the cathedral and the Poor Clare Convent, stands the old church of Santa María de Oliveira. This area was the closest to the wall, where the Jewish houses were located during the 15th century, as well as the tower Torre do Xudeu, among other constructions.
In the cemetery, on the outskirts of the town, probably in the neighbourhood of Riomuiños, burials were celebrated following all the rituals of the religion. High places next to a river or a stream were necessary, and Tui satisfied all these requirements.
Since 1942, when the Catholic Monarchs ordered the expulsion of the Jews from the Reign, some members of the community remained faithful to Judaism, whereas others opted to convert to Catholicism. The latter were not trusted and some of them were convicted by the Inquisition and registered in public lists which were displayed in churches, called sanbenitos. Today, the Museo Diocesano keeps the only sanbenitos remaining in Spain.+
Tui is Suebi and Visigoth, it is Jewish and Christian, it is Medieval and it is a historic ensemble… it is splendid in every sense. A must in your trip to As Rías Baixas.