Jewish Heritage of Istanbul
Jewish Heritage of IstanbulThis tour is designed for guests interested in the Jewish heritage present in Istanbul.
Today in Turkey, only two percent of the population is Jewish, but they play a very important role. You will begin with a short drive to Balat; a very ancient part of the city, where you will see the oldest existing synagogue in Istanbul called the Synagogue of Ahrida (exterior view only), which dates back to 1400.
The synagogue has an impressive Baroque design and was restored in the 17th century. The second point of interest in the Balat area is the Or-Ahayim Hospital (exterior view only). Continue on to the Jewish quarter of Istanbul; namely Galata which contains thee very famous synagogues. Neva Shalom Synagogue, can only be seen from the outside. The name Neva Shalom stands for “Oasis of Peace”. The synagogue was converted to its current situation after a renovation of the sports complex of a Jewish School in 1938 and was opened to public use in 1951.
You will visit the “Eskenazi Synagogue” which is another important synagogue in Istanbul and holds a holy place in Jewish tradition. Next, visit the “Schneider Temple” which is being used as a museum for Jewish tradition. The last visit of the tour will be 500.Year Foundation Museum of Turkish Jews which aims to protect the cultural heritage of Turkish Jews and to display Jewish artifacts.
With donations and contributions, local Jewish families and the Turkish Government converted the old Zulfaris Synagogue into the facility found today. The Museum is composed of three sections with the main section representing the integration of Jews with the Turkish society. In the Gallery section, they display examples of the current Jewish arts. The Ethnography section consists of Jewish traditions (marriage, circumcision) and ways of life from a historical perspective up through today. The tour will end with a short drive back to the pier.
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