Jewish Route

Sefardite Covilhã

This is a story that can only be visited, the story of the last Sephardic secret Jews.
It is known that since the end of the Roman empire there were, in what would become Portuguese territory, Jewish communities, in Jewish neighborhoods within the villages, the Jewish communities.

The Jewish community of Covilhã was from the 12th century until the beginning of the 20th century, the largest and most important in the Serra da Estrela Region and one of the strongest in Portugal.
The community of this region was mainly dedicated to trade and crafts, but also to agricultural activities, having been mainly the drivers of the wool industry.

In the city, at the end of the 15th century, there were at least two Hebrew nuclei. One (the oldest) intramuralhas, next to Portas do Sol; the second, on the outside, adjoining them close to the village gates surrounding the area that encompasses Rua do Ginásio and Rua das Flores.

The latter is characterized by the existence of narrow roads, without ordering and with small public spaces. The buildings are narrow on the façades and high, according to personal tastes and with appendicular additions.
Generally presenting facades with Jewish architectural features, such as a large door and a small door, non-square windows, beveled doors or jambs.
In this last nucleus, traditionally attributed to the Jewish community, three houses with Manueline windows stand out, decorated with nautical motifs, two on Rua das Flores and one on Rua do Ginásio Clube.

In addition to the housing areas, the factories stand out, founded by new Christian entrepreneurs, standing out among them:
– Real Fabrica dos Panos
– Fabrica Campos Melo
– Fabrica Velha

One of these Manueline windows was restored and recovered by the Municipality and is located at the back of the Covilhã City Hall.