The great majority of the Jewish community in Turkey (around 26.000 people) lives in Istanbul. This is only a fraction of the 500.000 Jews that once lived in here during the Ottoman Empire.
Therefore, the Jewish Heritage left in Istanbul is one of the most interesting and less known parts of the city. Join us, and discover the thriving Jewish Quarters, full of history and stories. Our program will take you through old neighborhoods, synagogues, colorful streets and the ultimate symbol of Istanbul: the Galata Tower.
The Description of the tour
|Highlights||Ashkenazi synagogue, Ahrida Synagogue, Galata Tower, The 500 Year Foundation Museum, Neve Shalom Synagogue, Etz-Ahayım Synanogue|
|Departure Dates||Monday to Thursday|
|Tips||This tour need to be reserved before 1 week to get entrance permissions.|
|Payment Details||You can pay to your guide during the tour (cash or credit card)|
|Pick up||Pick up from the hotels according to the location (from Sultanahmet and Taksim Hotels only)|
|Drop Off||At the end of the tour, we will drop you off to your hotel (from Sultanahmet and Taksim Hotels only)|
Located near the Galata Tower, in Karakoy neighborhood, this is the only active Ashkenazi Synagogue in Istanbul open to visits and prayers. The synagogue was founded by Jews of Austrian origin in 1900. Currently, the population of Ashkenazi Jews is only for 4 percent of the total Jewish population of Turkey.
Ahrida Synagogue, which dates back to the 1430’s, is the oldest one in Istanbul and also the most beautiful and impressive synagogue you will visit. It was founded by Jews from the town of Ohrid in what is today Macedonia, and it was extensively restored in 1922. Its most interesting feature is the boat-shape wooden bimah (reading platform), whose form is thought to represent either Noah’s Ark or the ships that brought the Jews from the Iberian Peninsula to the Ottoman Empire in 1492.
The Galata tower is one of the most well-known landmarks in Istanbul and one of the oldest towers in the world. Despite being built in 1348, it still dominates the skyline of the Golden Horn. Its upper balcony offers an amazing 360-degree view over the city. Besides the view, this tower has several curious stories and legends for you to learn about.
The 500 Year Foundation Museum of Turkish Jews
The Mission of the museum is to collect, preserve, exhibit and disseminate knowledge about the cultural heritage of the Turkish Jews. The Museum contains objects, documents and photographs reporting the activities of the Turkish Jews since they first arrived to Turkey, 700 years ago.
Neve Shalom Synagogue
It’s the central and largest Sephardic synagogue in Istanbul, it’s open to service especially on Shabbats, High Holidays, Bar Mitzvahs, funerals and weddings.
The Etz A Hayim synagogue is located on the main street of Ortakoy. Its name, meaning “Tree of Life”, was used for several years during the Byzantine and Ottoman periods.
- In summer: water, hat, sunglasses and camera
- In winter: waterproof shoes, umbrella, warm clothes and camera
Departure Dates: Everyday- Except Saturdays and Sundays (on Fridays there would be bar mitzvah, wedding or funeral therefore we cannot operate/provide this service.)