A Jewish ritual bath discovered in Strasbourg
In 1984, when a block of houses at 20 rue des Charpentiers was being renovated, the workers discovered the remains of a Mikveh ritual bath, one of the last traces of the large Jewish presence in mediaeval Strasbourg. Jews had been living in Alsace since ancient times, but were run out of the city in the progrom of 1349, and their places of worship closed or destroyed.
All that remains of this bath, used by women and men to achieve ritual purity, is a small, square-shaped cellar of about 9 m², in the centre of which is a pool with a capacity of up to 500 L of water, taken directly from groundwater, to which hot water was added. Recesses were built into the walls for candles, while a small adjoining room was used for changing.
A vestige of mediaeval Jewish life in Strasbourg
The Jewish community lived in an area which is today spanned by the rue des Juifs and the rue des Charpentiers. The synagogue was to be found in what is now 30 rue des Juifs, while the bakery occupied number 17. A butcher’s was housed in 22 rue des Charpentiers, next to the Mikveh, which was probably built between 1200 and 1260.
Other archaeological digs have unearthed further remnants of mediaeval Jewish life in Strasbourg, such as headstones from the old cemetery (12th-14th century).
- Tram A or D - Langstross-Grand’Rue
- Tram B, C or F - Broglie
20 rue des Charpentiers