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4 star rating: Recommended 13 Reviews

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  • Location: Istanbul, Turkey
  • Duration:  4 hours (approx.)
Discover Istanbul's Jewish culture on this private half-day tour. Visit the Galata Tower, one of the most prominent landmarks in the city on the European side.You will also visit the synagogues of Ashkenaz and Ortakoy.

Highlights

  • Private tour of Istanbul’s Jewish sites
  • See the Galata Tower, built in 1348
  • Visit three synagogues
  • Entrance fees included

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Private Tour: Istanbul's Jewish Heritage

Ortakoy Synagogue, Istanbul

Start your tour at the Galata Tower, the centuries-old Jewish neighborhood with its famous tower built by Genoese. In the 11th century, the quarter housed the city’s Jewish community, which came to number some 2,500 people. The Jewish quarter of Galata was seized and destroyed in 1203 by the Fourth Crusade.

First, visit to Ashkenaz Synagogue (upon availability). When the Jewish population in the old Pera and Galata districts (today encompassed by Beyoglu district) increased in the late 1930s, a Jewish primary school in the area was torn down in 1949 in order to build a new synagogue, Neve Shalom, and the construction was completed in 1951. Neve Shalom is the central and largest Sephardic synagogue in Istanbul, open to service especially on Shabbats, high holidays, Bar Mitzvahs, funerals and weddings. Also visit the Jewish Musuem in this area.

Then drive to Balat along the Golden Horn, residential area of the Ottoman Jews where the 'Star of David' still appears on the facades of some buildings.

Next, visit Ahrida Synagogue in Balat, which is one of the oldest synagogues in Istanbul, built in the 15th century. It was built by Romaniotes (Greek Jews), but after the arrival of the Sephardic Jews it was used exclusively by them. Ahrida Synagogue is also the only synagogue in Istanbul at which Sabbatai Zevi, founder of the Jewish Sabbatean movement, prayed.

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2014

Very interesting tour. Guide excellent. Highly recommended

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2014

Our guide was brilliant, and the driver was polite and efficient. We could not have asked for a better introduction to Istanbul's Jewish Quarter. We loved Istanbul and are hoping to return again soon.

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Tour code: 3795IST_P08

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