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Hop off at the port and delve into a guided full-day exploration of Istanbul’s historical Jewish heritage during this private shore excursion. This tour presents the rich history and significant landmarks of Sephardic Jews (originating from Spain) who were received with open arms to Istanbul in 1492. Along your city expedition, visit old Jewish neighborhoods such as Balat, Galata Tower, and four emblematic synagogues. Plus, enjoy the Jewish Museum of History with personalized attention from your guide. 

Highlights

  • Full-day private shore excursion around Istanbul's historical Jewish landmarks and districts
  • See inside the city’s famous Ari Ashkenazi Synagogue, Neve Shalom and the 15th-century Ahrida Synagogue
  • Explore colorful, cobbled Balat, the historical hub of Istanbul’s Jewish community
  • Visit the Jewish Museum of Turkey and enjoy the views from the Galata Tower
  • Enjoy lunch (own expense) in the Ortaköy district, where exiled Jews first landed in the city in 1492
  • Receive in-depth attention from a professional guide on this private tour
  • Covered by Viator’s worry-free policy: guaranteed on-time return to your ship

What You Can Expect

Istanbul Shore Excursion: Private Full-Day Jewish Heritage of Istanbul Tour

Discover the history and landmarks of Istanbul's Jewish community on this private shore excursion

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.

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