Many of the people who walk around Baixa area nowadays do not know that they are walking the Greater Jewish Quarter of Lisbon. After the conquest, Christian Lisbon maintained neighbourhoods where mostly people of other religions lived. In addition to the Mouraria (Moors), which still exists today, Lisbon had at least four Jewish quarters. However over the centuries they have lived almost side by side, from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century.
Our Jewish Lisbon tours shows you that the jewries occupied a privileged area in the city space. Present throughout the kingdom, Jews achieved significant economic, social, fiscal and cultural relevance. Predominantly associated with the urban environment, they settled in areas of expressive identity that did not end in a toponymic differentiation. The Jewry or, more simply, the Jewish Lisbon quarters or Jewish street – because it resulted mainly from a specific experience of this space. But the area reserved for the Jewish minority in most urban centers tended to take on great resemblance. Stemming from similar choices as to its location and similar orientations in social and heritage organization of the landscape.
In conclusion Jewish Quarter means a street or several houses where Jews live and not the administrative entity that is the commune. Although in certain places it identifies with it. In the early days of the monarchy Jews live mixed with Christians although in some areas they already had neighbourhoods of their own.
All these gatherings, that is, the Lisbon Jewish quarters, obeyed the curfew and, to the sound of the Ave-Marias (18:00 hours). Therefore all the doors of the Jewry’s and Lisbon Jewish quarters were closed, to prevent the coexistence between Jews and Christians. Consequently the legislation was very strict regarding the displacement of Jews outside the communes at night. As a result if it was nightfall and the communal doors were closed and the Jew could not enter in time, he should sleep in a guesthouse with other men. This allows us to understand that the absence of the commune of a Jewish women was little or almost not allowed. And, if any Jew had to go out at night for a great need, he would have to go with a Christian.