Hervás is a Spanish town located in the Ambroz Valley in the north of the Cáceres province. It is famous for having one of the best-preserved Jewish quarters in Spain. Although the Jews lived in Hervás for one century, their legacy remains to this day. The Spanish Ministry of Culture declared the Jewish Quarter a Historic-Artistic Ensemble in 1969.
Unfortunately, my visit was only a quick stop on the way from Cáceres to Mérida. I stopped for breakfast and a quick walkaround. It didn’t take me long to discover that this place is a real gem; I intend to revisit and explore it further.
Walking around Hervás, you can feel the history. The streets are narrow and cobbled; many are steep due to the location of the town in the Ambroz Valley. The town is small; you can walk everywhere. In my opinion, the best way to explore this town is to just wander around the maze of narrow streets.
Jewish Quarters (Barrio Judio)
Evidence of Jewish history is everywhere. Stars of David are on street signs and plaques in the Jewish quarter. I even saw Stars of David incorporated into the iron window burglar bars on some houses.
The Jews built their houses using local materials; mostly stone, adobe (sun-dried bricks made from straw mud and sand), chestnut and tiles. They didn’t just use tiles on roofs, but also on vertical walls; importantly, this weatherproofed the houses and protected the less durable materials. The Jews used chestnut beams to create a timber structural frame, which, to me, looks very similar to Tudor houses in the UK.
Also worth seeing in Hervás
- La Enfermería de Los Religiosos Franciscanos (Franciscan nursing home). This dates back to the 18th century and is currently used as the Town Hall.
- El Convento de Los Religiosos Trinitarios (Trinitarian Convent), which now serves as a four-star hotel run by the regional government.
- The Pérez Comendador-Leroux Museum. This is an 18th-century palace and it houses the paintings and sculptures of Enrique Pérez Comendador and Magdalena.
- La Iglesia Parroquial de Santa María (Saint Mary’s Parish Church). It is located at the highest point of Hervás. Inside you will find the Angustias chapel with a Baroque altarpiece.
- There is also a Motorcycle and Classic Car Museum in Hervás. I wanted to see this; unfortunately, it was closed at the time of my walk-about. However, it does have excellent reviews, so maybe next time.
More photos from Hervás
Click on the thumbnails below to see the larger version and caption.