Jewish Heritage of Istanbul

Tour Duration :
3 - 3,5 hrs

Min.# of guests :
2 guests

Max.# of guests :
10 - 12 guests

Meals :

Refreshments :

Walking Level :

Dress Code :
Comfortable walking
shoes with rubber sole
are reccommended.

Jews have lived in the geographic area of Asia Minor (modern Turkey) for more than 2,400 years. In the later Middle Ages, Ashkenazi Jews migrating to the Byzantine Empire and Ottoman Empire supplemented the original Jewish population of Asia Minor. At the end of the 15th century, a large number of Sephardic Jews fleeing persecution in Spain and Portugal settled in Asia Minor on the invitation of the Ottoman Empire. Despite emigration during the 20th century, modern day Turkey continues to have a small Jewish population.

During this tour you will visit the Galata quarter and Balat in the old part of Istanbul. Sites in Galata included the office of the Chief Rabbinate, the Neve Shalom, inaugurated on March 25, 1951. The synagogue is today used for major functions of the community such as weddings and funerals. Then you will move on to the last visit in the Galata part of the city. Jewish Museum of Turkey (officially Quincentennial Foundation Museum of Turkish Jews) is a cultural center established by the Quincentennial Foundation to inform the society of the traditions and history of Turkish Jewry. The Quincentennial Foundation was established in 1989 by 113 Turkish citizens, Jews and Muslims alike, to celebrate the five hundredth anniversary of Sephardim’s arrival to the Ottoman Empire. The idea of a museum was proposed by Naim Güleryüz who is now its curator and the foundation was financed by the prominent Jewish Kamhi family. The building of the museum, formerly known as Zülfaris Synagogue (1671), was restored and remodelled to suit a museum. Jewish Museum of Turkey includes sections on the interminging cultures of Jewish and Muslim Turks and etnographic articles that depict the traditions of Turkish Jews, as well as the historical accounts of the Jewish odyssey from Spain to Turkey.

Balat, in the old part of Istanbul, is one of the oldest residential areas in Istanbul and the first settlement area for the Jewish community in Istanbul. In Balat you will get a chance to walk in the narrow streets, see the Star of David appearing on the facades of some of the buildings in the area. Then you will visit Ahrida Synagogue that was built in 15th century. It is a glorious example of the rich cultural life of Turkish Jews; the Ahrida has its rightful place among the major synagogues of the world. It is the oldest of Istanbul’s 16 synagogues in use today. A remarkable feature of the Ahrida is its Teva (Bima), which is in the shape of prow of a ship. The tradition says that, it symbolizes either Noah’s Ark or the Ottoman Ships that transported the Sephardics from Spain to Turkey.
At the end of the program, you will return to the pier.

IMPORTANT : The Synagogues and the Museum are closed on Friday afternoons and Saturday. For an interior visit to any of the Synagogues, we will need to receive passport copy of the guests few days prior to the visit date to apply to the chief rabinate for the necessary permission.

Cruise On The Bosphorus (Half day)
Cruise On the Bosphorus & Asia (Full Day)
Panoramic Istanbul
Byzantıne herıtage ın depth
Culinary Experience in Istanbul
Jewish Heritage of Istanbul
Dinner & Show at Kervansaray Night Club
Half Day Ephesus Antıque Sıte
Three Ancient Cities : Priene, Mıiletus & Didyma (long half day)
Three Ancient Cities : Priene, Mıiletus & Didyma
Full Day Ephesus
Tandem Sky Diving at Ephesus Air Field
Picnic at Dilek Peninsula National Park
Traditional Turkish Handicrafts
Kusadasi & Selcuk Panorama
Classical Concert & Cocktails at Ephesus
Half Day or Full Day Private Sailing on a Gullet
Drive Along The Bays of Bodrum
Relax at Spa in Bodrum kempinski Hotel
Sunset Cocktail at The Marmara Boutique Hotel
Izmir - Half day
Half day Ephesus
Full Day Ephesus
Ancient Pergamon Acropolis & Asclepion
Perge & Aspendos
Perge, Aspendos & Side
Termessos Antique Site
Walking Tour of Antalya (Half Day)
Jeep Safari
Rafting at Koprulu Kanyon
Half Day Tour to Pergamum Acropolıs & Asclepıon
Half Day Tour to Asclepion, Red Court, and Archaeological Museum
Special Interest Tours