The Giudecca

The Jewish baths: the Casa Bianca mikveh

In the Jewish community, purification rituals played a fundamental role. For this reason, Giudecca would also have a “ mikveh “: a purifying ritual bath. The mikveh of Syracuse, one of the most important in Europe, is the Casa Bianca, discovered by chance in 1989 during renovation of a building.
A staircase of 58 steps, dug and carved into the rock, leads to an underground room from the Byzantine period, where mighty rock columns support a cross vault formed by the interweaving of two ogival arches interrupted in one section by a chimney that brought in air and light.
scale bagno ebraico

Il miqveh di Siracusa, uno dei più importanti di Europa, si trova nei sotterranei di un palazzo chiamato Casa Bianca. Questo luogo misterioso è stato scoperto casualmente nel 1989 durante i lavori di ristrutturazione di una costruzione Una scala composta da 58 gradini e scavata nella roccia, conduce in una stanza sotterranea. Si giunge in un ambiente simile ad una caverna, con il soffitto a volta sorretto da colonne di pietra. Nella parte centrale del miqveh si aprono tre vasche disposte a forma di trifoglio. Mentre altre due vasche si trovano in due stanze laterali. Tutte le vasche sono profonde 140 cm e sono accessibili tramite una scaletta composta da quattro gradini. La stanza è fresca e addolcita da luci tenui e soffuse che creano un’atmosfera molto suggestiva.
Il miqveh di Siracusa, uno dei più importanti di Europa, si trova nei sotterranei di un palazzo chiamato Casa Bianca. Questo luogo misterioso è stato scoperto casualmente nel 1989 durante i lavori di ristrutturazione di una costruzione Una scala composta da 58 gradini e scavata nella roccia, conduce in una stanza sotterranea. Si giunge in un ambiente simile ad una caverna, con il soffitto a volta sorretto da colonne di pietra. Nella parte centrale del miqveh si aprono tre vasche disposte a forma di trifoglio. Mentre altre due vasche si trovano in due stanze laterali. Tutte le vasche sono profonde 140 cm e sono accessibili tramite una scaletta composta da quattro gradini. La stanza è fresca e addolcita da luci tenui e soffuse che creano un’atmosfera molto suggestiva.

A stone-carved seat runs all around it. The bath consists of five 140-cm-deep basin, three of which are located in the central part in a clover arrangement, while the other two are located in lateral and reserved areas.
particolare bagno ebraico
It is 18 metres deep to reach the aquifer that fills the bath. The aquifer was already known in antiquity due to the existence of two Greek wells in the area. However, the basins of the Casa Bianca hypogeum do not draw water from these wells; each of them is fed directly from the aquifer through a fissure in the rock created specifically at the bottom.
The water that fed the basin had to be pure. The room is cool and shrouded by soft and suffused light that creates an evocative atmosphere, recreating the memory of this place when it was still at the height of its activity.
According to the Scriptures, immersion in water was necessary to regain ritual purity and thus to enter the place of worship. It was also customary for women to immerse themselves totally after menstruation or childbirth, as was the case for dishes and cutlery after purchase or contamination with impure food. As proof of this, ceramic fragments were found on the bottom of the basin.

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