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Sos del Rey Catolico, receives its name for being the birth place of Ferdinand II of Aragon. A walled community, build on a foundation of rock, the village of Sos del Rey Catolico remains today much as it has in historic times. Of note, is the Jewish presence and their eventual expulsion that is documented in the archaeological records left in the village's homes, streets and cellars.

Sos's sights:
Sos del Rey Catolico Home
Iglesia de San Esteban
The Jewish Quarter
The Parador
Palacio de Sada


stone paved street in Sos del Ray Catolico
Above photo - A street in Sos del Rey Catolico, notice the stone pavers. Due to the high cost of maintenance, many villages are paving over these stones with asphalt but in Sos del Rey Catolico, care is taken to retain the village's historic architecture.

In Sos del Rey Catolico we have the convergence of two different but yet related stories. One is the story of John II of Aragon's second wife (Juana Enriquez) pregnant and possibly fearing for the life of her unborn child, arriving in Sos del Rey Catolico in 1452 AD. The other story is of the persecution of Jews in Spain, culminating in Fernando's and Isabella's order of Jewish expulsion from Spain in 1492.

cross carved in the wall of a coverted jews house in Sos del Ray Catolico
Photo Above - Some Jews in Sos del Rey Catolico, given the choice of expulsion or conversion, converted to Christianity. Under scrutiny as pretenders, they had to be more Christian than Christians, some carving crosses in to the exterior of their homes to show their devotion.

Palace where Ferdinand II was born

The Palace where Ferdinand II was born is now a museum, it was closed on the day of our visit.

Juana Enríquez enter Sos through the Jewish gate and was taken to the Palace for the delivery of Ferdinand II. As the second child of John II, Ferdinand was not in line to become king. Perhaps, Juana may have believed her child to be a threat to John II's first child, Carlos of Viana. Reportedly, John II and Carlos had no love for each other and John II even tries to strip Carlos of his rights to the kingdom of Navarre. The bitter conflict ends with Carlos' death, possibly from poison.

Photo left - birth place of Ferdinand II.

The Jewish persecution and eventual expulsion from Spain occurred over a long period of time. In Sos del Rey Catolico and Uncastillo we took a private guided tour of these two cites with a focus on the Jewish experience. While it is possible to explore on your own, it really takes a guide to point out the easily missed evidence of the early Jewish presents in these cities. Our guide was arranged through my recommended Spain Travel Agent.

I plan to add additional pages on Sos del Rey Catolico, the village has a very nice Parador (my wife rated it as "I never want to leave") and I want to go in to more depth with the tour of Jewish history of Spain.

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This page last updated December 2006
Information on this page comes from my October 2006 visit to Spain