One of the hidden treasures of Boa Vista, Cape Verde, is the Jewish Cemetery, located in the Rotchina area. This fascinating place not only tells the story of a Jewish community that integrated into the island in the mid-19th century but also represents an authentic architectural heritage.
Nestled in the beauty of Praia Cabral, near the Marine Club, you will find the Jewish cemetery, a place that preserves traces of past lives. Here rest the tombs of the Ben’Oliel family, whose members were wealthy Jewish merchants who fled from Rabat, Morocco, in 1872 due to persecutions. These tombs are surrounded by low stone walls and are engraved with inscriptions in Hebrew, a touch of authenticity that directly connects us to the past.
This cemetery represents an important link to the Jewish history of Boa Vista. The Jews, who had suffered for centuries due to anti-Semitism in Spain and Portugal, found refuge here, bringing with them their cultural and commercial baggage. Their presence significantly contributed to the development of the island. Even though most of Boa Vista’s inhabitants are of Christian faith, it is impossible to ignore the imprint left by this community.
Through restoration funded by King Mohammed VI of Morocco, many Jewish cemeteries across the country have been preserved, revealing the intertwined Jewish legacy with the history of Cape Verde. These cemeteries show us the stories of life, challenges, and resilience of those who came before us.
Walking among the tombs, you can reflect on the history of people who crossed continents and borders, building a life here in Boa Vista. Additionally, next to the tombs of the Jews, you will also find the grave of Julia Maria Petingall, a young English woman who fell victim to yellow fever, a testament to the dangers faced by those who settled on this island.
Beyond the cemetery, you can explore the surroundings and discover the ruins of a chapel and a path that will lead you to a distant time. Boa Vista’s history is rich in nuances and details, and every corner of this island tells a part of this fascinating narrative.
Furthermore, you will be surprised to discover that the Jewish history of Boa Vista is still alive in the lives of many people here today. Although the practice of Judaism may not be prevalent, the legacy of this community continues to influence the culture and social fabric of the island.
As you stroll among the tombs and historic buildings, we invite you to immerse yourself in this unique narrative and reflect on the lives that have been lived here, shaping the destiny of Boa Vista. Whether you’re passionate about history, culture, or simply seeking an authentic experience, the Jewish Cemetery of Boa Vista is a place not to be missed during your visit to this enchanting island.