Private Tour: Istanbul's Jewish Heritage

activities / Private & luxury

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Private Tour: Istanbul's Jewish Heritage information and booking

4 hours
Departs from
Pick up from centrally located hotels in Istanbul (European only)
Returns to
Returns to original departure point at approximately 1:00pm
Time of departure
Check prices & availability

Tour description provided by Viator

Discover Istanbul's Jewish culture on this private half-day tour. Visit the Galata Tower, one of the most prominent landmarks in the city on the European side.You will also visit the synagogues of Ashkenaz and Ortakoy.

Start your tour at the Galata Tower, the centuries-old Jewish neighborhood with its famous tower built by Genoese. In the 11th century, the quarter housed the city’s Jewish community, which came to number some 2,500 people. The Jewish quarter of Galata was seized and destroyed in 1203 by the Fourth Crusade.

First, visit to Ashkenaz Synagogue (upon availability). When the Jewish population in the old Pera and Galata districts (today encompassed by Beyoglu district) increased in the late 1930s, a Jewish primary school in the area was torn down in 1949 in order to build a new synagogue, Neve Shalom, and the construction was completed in 1951. Neve Shalom is the central and largest Sephardic synagogue in Istanbul, open to service especially on Shabbats, high holidays, Bar Mitzvahs, funerals and weddings. Also visit the Jewish Musuem in this area.

Then drive to Balat along the Golden Horn, residential area of the Ottoman Jews where the 'Star of David' still appears on the facades of some buildings.

Next, visit Ahrida Synagogue in Balat, which is one of the oldest synagogues in Istanbul, built in the 15th century. It was built by Romaniotes (Greek Jews), but after the arrival of the Sephardic Jews it was used exclusively by them. Ahrida Synagogue is also the only synagogue in Istanbul at which Sabbatai Zevi, founder of the Jewish Sabbatean movement, prayed.

What's included

  • Hotel pickup and drop off
  • Entrance fees
  • Local guide
  • Transport by private vehicle

What isn't included

  • Gratuities (optional)
  • Food and drinks, unless specified
  • Entrance fee into the galata tower