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The Ramban Synagogue in Jerusalem was built in the 13th Century. Its name is a shortened version of Rabbi ben Nachman, the founder, who immigrated from Spain in 1267.
Ramban, the man, was famous because he won a public debate in Spain to prove that Judaism was better than Christianity. Though the king had promised him freedom of speech, the local people were so mad at him that Ramban and his followers had to flee to Jerusalem. Since its establishment the Ramban synagogue has indeed functioned as its founders wished, with daily prayer services characterized by a fixed format, conducted in an unsophisticated, yet decorous and dignified manner, and a warm and accepting attitude to all congregants.
The Ramban Synagogue is the oldest active synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem. Today it is located at the corner of Ha-Yehudim Street and the square in the Jerusalem Jewish Quarter. The Ramban Synagogue was built in the 13th Century. Its name is a shortened version of Rabbi ben Nachman, the founder, who immigrated from Spain in 1267.
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The foundation of the building comprises vaults resting on Romanesque and Byzantine capitals (architecture). Along with the fact that there are no Gothic or Islamic architectural features, this suggests that the original building predates the Crusader period.
The synagogue is located three meters below street level, to comply with Muslim restrictions for Dhimmi houses of prayer not to be higher than mosques.
In the center of today's thriving Jewish Quarter stands the Ramban Synagogue. The history and holiness can be felt in its every brick and archway. It is a place bustling with prayer and Torah learning, its presence a living testimony to the efforts of Nachmanides, 700 years earlier, which reverberate loudly till today.