Currently, only two percent of Istanbul's population is Jewish. The importance of their cultural heritage is much larger, and this Istanbul private tour is the perfect opportunity to learn all about it. Visit historic locations, observe important monuments, and stop at a fascinating museum. This private tour of Istanbul's Jewish history is ideal for history lovers, photographers, and anyone searching for a captivating cultural experience. Designed specifically to be enjoyed privately, this Istanbul tour offers a truly personalized day in Turkey.
Begin your Istanbul private tour with a short comfortable drive to Balat, a traditional Jewish quarter in Istanbul's Faith district. Once there, you'll observe the Ahrida Synagogue, the oldest of Istanbul's synagogues. Dating back to the 15th century, the striking building has an impressive Baroque architectural design. Another highlight in Balat is the Or-Ayahim Hospital, a beautiful historic landmark you'll also observe from the outside.
Continue your Istanbul private tour to Galata, a historic neighborhood on the northern shore of the Golden Horn. In the 11th century, this scenic quarter housed Constantinople's Jewish community, functioning today as home to several famous landmarks. First is the Neva Shalom Synagogue, whose name means "Oasis of Peace." Built to accommodate an increasing Jewish population in the late 1930s, the synagogue was built over the ruins of a former Jewish primary school. The second notable highlight is the Ashkenazi Synagogue, currently the only active Ashkenazi synagogue open to visits and prayers in Istanbul.
The last stop on your Istanbul private tour is The 500 Year Foundation Museum of Turkish Jews. This cultural center was built over the grounds of a former synagogue in the 19th century to inform people about Jewish traditions and history in Turkey. This picturesque museum is divided into three sections. The main section highlights Jewish culture and its integration with Turkish society. Paintings, photographs, and other stunning works of Jewish art can be seen in the Gallery section. Finally, the ethnography section contains articles and artifacts depicting Jewish traditions from a chronologically historical perspective.
Your Istanbul private tour of Istanbul's Jewish heritage ends with a comfortable drive back to your port. Please note: the standard of dress throughout Turkey is conservative. Modest clothing covering your shoulders and knees is required. Short shorts and sleeveless shirts (for both men and women) are not acceptable. All facilities except for the museum may only be viewed from outside.