Hidden treasures

The Venice Ghetto and its hidden synagogues

Unknown places & works
Ghetto

The Venice Ghetto and its hidden synagogues

Venice is also famous because the first ‘Jewish Ghetto' in the world was based here. It is the neighbourhood where the Jews were forced to live and that has shaped many other European cities.

When visiting the Venice Ghetto one learns that since the 16th century there have been five synagogues, but today it is almost impossible to recognize them in the tall buildings if you do not know what to look for. In this district, there are, in fact, monumental buildings separated from the rest of the houses, since the Jews in Venice only had a small space around the squares of the Ghetto Nuovo and the Old Ghetto, and it is for this reason the buildings are very high, because it developed as the population grew.

Synagogues were then built on top of the normal housing because, according to the teachings of the Talmud, places of prayer should rise over the city, and from outside they are only recognizable by counting the windows. In fact, all the synagogues of Venice have five large windows, to provide them with more light. According to the Talmud light is fundamental to a synagogue because it is a symbol of life, and therefore, of God. On the choice of the number five there are various interpretations, but the most likely is connected to the distribution of Talmud, precisely divided into five parts, which represent the manifestations of light.

If you want to deepen your knowledge of the Venice Ghetto you can book the tour: Venice and the Oriente (Art, Spices & Coffee) online at venetoinside.com.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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