About Segovia Jewish Cemetery
Segovia Jewish Cemetery, also known as ‘El Pinarillo’, was the cemetery of the city’s Jewish community. Whilst there are no official dates associated with the cemetery, it would have served the community before the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.
Today, visitors to Segovia Jewish Cemetery can see the remains of tombs and carvings in the limestone.
History of Segovia Jewish Cemetery
Segovia Jewish Cemetery is located just outside of the walls of the city of Segovia, Spain, on the southern slope of the Clamores River valley in an area known as ‘The Pinarillo’.
The cemetery was the ancient necropolis of Jewish residents of Segovia in medieval times, and is comprised of two different types of tombs.
Firstly, there are large burial chambers with access corridors that are carved into the rock in the woodland area. Secondly, there are tombs that have been carved out of the limestone rock of the valley slopes which form more ‘traditional’ shaped grave plots and stones.
The graves are all oriented on an east-west axis, and the skeletons were all found supine and facing east. Some of the graves are carved in the shape of a head and shoulders; others are simply rectangular.
The Segovian community prospered in the 13th century, until war between Pedro the Cruel and Henry of Trastamara from 1366-69 put Castilian communities under strain. The Seovian Jews were attacked and robbed of their possessions, whilst King Henry cancelled the debts owed by Christians to Jews.
In 1390, there were around 50 Jewish homeowners in Segovia, and in the following 40 years, the Jewish population was forced to convert to Christianity, segregated, and accused of host degradation. The result was Segovia becoming a hive of antisemitism, and the Jews being expelled from Spain in 1492.
Segovia Jewish Cemetery Today
Access to the cemetery is free and is signposted from the Jewish Quarter. Tours are available and are thoroughly recommended. The cemetery is lit until 12 midnight.
The city is also famous for other historic sites, such as its midtown Roman Aqueduct, its cathedral, and the castle, which was one of the templates for Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle.
Getting to Segovia Jewish Cemetery
The Jewish Quarter is a 20 minute walk from the centre of Segovia, via Av. Padre Claret/CL-601a. It is also reachable in around 15 minutes by bus – the 1, 5, 7, or 8 – which depart every 15 minutes from the centre of the city.
From the Jewish Quarter, the cemetery is under 10 minutes by foot and is well signposted.