Lonely Planet review for Ahrida Synagogue
Sephardic Jews, driven from Spain by the judges of the Inquisition, found refuge in the Ottoman Empire in the late 15th and early 16th centuries and many settled in this quarter of the city. Some of their descendants still live here and speak the native Spanish dialect of Ladino. Like all other religious ‘nations’ within the empire, the Jewish community was governed by its supreme religious leader, the Chief Rabbi, who oversaw its adherence to religious law and who was responsible to the sultan for the community’s good conduct. Today, you’ll need to contact the current Chief Rabbinate of Turkey at least 24 hours in advance if you wish to visit this synagogue, which was built by Macedonian Jews in the 15th century.