Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians
Inside the ancient mikvah in Speyer, Germany.

Exploring Medieval Jewish Heritage in Five German Cities

Germany may be a comparatively modern nation-state, having been formed in 1871, but the territory it now encompasses has a rich and complex history. An integral part of that history, from at least the 4th century AD, has been the role of its Jewish communities. While the story of the Jews in both Germany and Europe is understandably overshadowed by the horrific events of the Holocaust, it is important not to forget the contributions and struggles of earlier Jewish communities – including those who lived during the Middle Ages. In this article I highlight five German cities that celebrate their Jewish heritage and promote these to visitors interested in exploring Medieval history in Europe.


A ground plan of the Jewish Quarter in Cologne.
Bronze tactile plan showing the features of the Jewish Quarter in Cologne.


The old synagogue in Erfurt, preserved to the roof.
The synagogue in Erfurt, with parts dating back to the 11th century this is the oldest synagogue in Europe still standing to the roof.

Walking Tours that Include Jewish Heritage

Worms - Warmaisa

The old synagogue in Worms.
The Frauensynagogue in Worms.

Mainz - Magenza

The Jewish Cemetery in Mainz covered in a light dusting of snow.
The old Jewish cemetery in Mainz is one of the known burial places of the Jewish community in Europe. This section on Mombacher Strasse dates to the 17th and 18th century.

Walking Tours that Include Jewish Heritage

Speyer - Schpira

The entrance to the ancient mikvah in Speyer.
The entrance to the ancient mikveh in the ruins of the Speyer Synagogue.
The Brandenburg Gate at night taken from within Pariser Platz.

Explore Germany More Deeply

Few other countries have a past as rich and complex as Germany. From the Neanderthals who made some of Europe’s oldest Ice Age art to the Iron Age Celts and their exquisite gold work. From the Hanseatic League of the Middle Ages to the 20th Century and the Third Reich. Whatever your interest in history, in Germany you will be spoilt for choice with Roman forts, Gothic castles and churches, Bach’s Leipzig, the Berlin Wall and some of the finest museums in the world.

Archaeology Travel Writer

Ethan Doyle White

When not exploring archaeology and history sites at home and abroad, and then writing about these for Archaeology Travel, I research religion in early medieval England and contemporary uses of heritage. In 2019 I completed a PhD in medieval history and archaeology from University College, London. Read More

Community Comments

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments