- 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
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.
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.
We took this tour because we wanted to visit synagogues and we knew the security issues make it difficult to arrange. Apart from anything else the synagogues are not obvious even when you are standing in front of them. You need to take your passport to gain entry to the Sephardi synagogue.We saw two synagogues and the Jewish Museum; the large Sephardi synagogue (Etz hachaim) at Oberoy was particularly impressive and the museum was fascinating. Our guide (who was not Jewish) was most helpful; the minibus was comfortable and carefully driven. A very worthwhile morning and we would thoroughly recommend the tour.