In the fifteenth century some 15% of Tudela’s population were Jews.
There were two quarters, one around the Zaragaza gate, the other within the castle walls, but nothing remains of these sizable communities.
Visitors can, however, go to the Ribotas landing stage at the confluence of the Ebro and Merchando, where Benjamin de Tudela set off on his long journey.
The journey which enabled researchers and historians to know so much about the state of Jewish communities and important figures of that era around Europe and even further east.
Benjamin de Tudela
In the twelth century the tireless explorer Benjamin de Tudela spent some ten years traveling the world and filling his notebooks with impressions. He visited Zaragoza, Tortosa, Tarragona, Barcelona, and Gerona, journeyed through Roussillon and Provence to Marseille and from there sailed to Italy (Genoa, Pisa, Lucca, Rome, and Salerno) before going on to Corfu in the Aegean and then Constantinople. Reaching his gateway to Asia Minor, he hastened on to the Holy Land, then controlled by the Crusaders, and traveled to Jerusalem and Nablus before going to Damascus and Aleppo. He continued along the valley of the Tigris to Baghdad, then went to Cairo and from there via the Sinai back west to Sicily and Rome. Back in Europe, he felt the compulsion to head for Verdun and Paris, where he ended his journey. In addition to his own observations, Benjamin de Tudela also fleshed out his account with summaries of conversations with his fellow travelers about more remote lands such as Russia, Bohemia, and China.