Disembark from your ship at the port and start your full-day shore excursion of Istanbul’s Jewish heritage as you hop into your air-conditioned minivan. Take a comfortable ride to Karaköy and discover Ari Ashkenazi Synagogue (aka Austrian Temple) in this former Jewish neighborhood. As you admire the elegant interior, learn how this synagogue was established in 1900 by Ashkenazi Jews (people of central European and Austrian descent) and is the only one currently in use by Ashkenazis today. Afterward, head close by to the biggest synagogue for Sephardic Jews, Neve Shalom which was constructed in the 1950s.
Hop back in your minivan and continue over the Golden Horn to the old Jewish neighborhood of Balat. Relish the old world atmosphere as you stroll along cobbled streets and view vibrant homes. Hear how this area spent 500 years as a prominent Jewish area and even observe a few houses that still float the Star of David in their windows. Stop at Ahrida Synagogue, Istanbul’s oldest synagogue, and marvel at this building erected in the 1430s.
Next, take an elevator ride to the top of Galata Tower and gaze over the city from this 14th century fortification. Then, step into the Jewish Museum of Turkey (once known as the Zülfaris Museum) and see a well documented history of Jews dating back to 1492 when Sultan Beyazid Khan II helped exiled Sephardic Jews enter the city.
Finally, arrive in the Ortaköy district and see where Sephardic Jews docked for the first time after a long sea journey in the 15th century. Here, take a break for lunch at one of many cafes and restaurants that populate this charming suburb (own expense).
Following lunch, voyage back to your cruise ship where your tour concludes.
Please note: on the day of your tour, the order of each activity visited above may be modified.
Worry-free Shore Excursion:
Don’t worry, this tour ensures you will get back to Istanbul cruise port! In the unlikely event that your ship has departed, we will prepare transportation to the next port-of call. Plus, you can book worry free. If by chance your ship is delayed to arrive and you cannot attend the tour, we will refund your money. See our terms and conditions for full details.