Private Tour: Istanbul's Jewish Heritage

18 Reviews

  • Location: Istanbul, Turkey
  • Duration: 4 hours (approx.)
  • Tour code: 3795IST_P08
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.

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Schedule details

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Departure Dates:
Departure Point:
Pick up from centrally located hotels in Istanbul (European only)
Departure Time:
Return Details:
Returns to original departure point at approximately 1:00pm

Pricing information

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Pricing information

Private Tour: Istanbul's Jewish Heritage

Galata Tower, Istanbul

  • Hotel pickup and drop off
  • Entrance fees
  • Local guide
  • Transport by private vehicle
  • Gratuities (optional)
  • Food and drinks, unless specified
  • Entrance fee into the Galata Tower
Additional Information:

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking, unless booked within 2 days of travel. In this case confirmation will be received within 48 hours, subject to availability
  • In the event of any museum closures, an alternative similar museum will be visited
  • Not recommended for children aged 4 and under
  • Children 18 years and under must be accompanied by an adult
  • Please note you MUST provide your full passport details at time of booking. This information is required in order to obtain permission to enter the Synagogues
  • Adult pricing applies to all travelers

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Complete Operator information, including local telephone numbers at your destination, are included on your Confirmation Voucher. Our Product Managers select only the most experienced and reliable operators in each destination, removing the guesswork for you, and ensuring your peace of mind.

Traveler Reviews

Reviewed by: jedokson, July 2014

Very interesting and we enjoyed it a lot. It would have been even better if the guide was Jewish or knew more personally about the Jewish community, past and present, but he still did a very good job. It was great having an air conditioned car to take us around.

Reviewed by: lawrence k, May 2014

Very well organised and will recommend your company to anyone who is thinking of going on a guided tour
The guide and driver were first class. Lawrence kraft

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Tour code: 3795IST_P08