Jewish Heritage in Istanbul


Explore the thriving Jewish quarters in Istanbul on this private tour by visiting the most important synagogues such as Ahrida, Ashkenazi and Neve Shalom along with the Jewish Museum. Book Jewish Heritage in Istanbul now!

Book now

About Jewish Heritage in Istanbul

Full Day Jewish Heritage Tour in Istanbul

!!! Not available on weekends !!!

Please keep in mind the following:

  • Reservation in advance is required.
  • To obtain visit permits, we need a photocopy of your passport’s picture page in advance
  • Passports are required to ensure security during the tour.
  • The hours can change according to the Rabbinate & Times.
  • Lunch included (kosher food).

Guide for group

Guide with vehicle for group



English speaking guide only
Up to 4 people Up to 9 people Up to 13 people Up to 19 people
90 € 120 € 130 € 160 €
Vehicle and English-speaking guide 
Up to 4 people Up to 9 people Up to 13 people Up to 19 people
190 € 205 € 220 € 280 €


Synagogue Visits In Istanbul

For over 2,400 years, the Jewish community has been residing in the area of Asia Minor. The original Jewish population of Asia Minor was replaced by Ashkenazi Jews who immigrated to the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire in the late Middle ages. At the end of the 15th century, on the request of the Ottoman Empire, a substantial number of the Sephardic Jews, who had escaped persecution in Spain and Portugal, arrived in Asia Minor.

In spite of the 20th century Jew emigration, Turkey today appears to have a Jewish community. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, the total population of the Jewish group is projected at about 26,000. The majority of the Jewish people reside in Istanbul, with around 2,500 residents in the city of Izmir and some smaller communities in the rest of Turkey.

Approximately 96% of the Jewish community in Turkey are Sephardic Jews while the remaining mostly are Ashkenazi. The Hahambasi, the chief rabbi, still represents the Turkish Jews. A religious committee consisting of Rosh Bet Din and three Hahamim assists Rav Izak Haleva. The regular operations are handled by 35 Lay Counselors and 14 Executives of the Church, whose chairmen have to be chosen from within the Lay Counselors. They are accountable for all the social relations of the Group.

Istanbul has had a vibrant Jewish community for more than 1000 years. We will depart for visiting Balat district which has been a Jewish settlement since 1492 with the order of Ottoman Sultan to rebuilt the city together and praise Istanbul as it was.  Star of David can still be noticed on the facades of some of the buildings. We are going to visit the 15th century Ahrida Synagogue whose teva resembles a bow representing the Ottoman ships sent by Sultan Beyazit II who offered safety for the refugees of the Spanish Inquisition.

In the afternoon, we are going to see the Jewish MuseumAshkenazi Synagogue built in 1900 and after that, we are going to see the Neve Shalom Synagogue which is the biggest synagogue in Istanbul built in 1951 for the Sephardic Jews. We are going to finish the day with the area around the Galata Tower which is of prime interest to visitors touring the Jewish interest sites. The Galata neighborhood has bustling street life, numerous synagogues with great historical and artistic value, and all sites are within walking distance of one another.



The Synagogues that will be visited during this tour.

08:30 AM Pick up from the hotel or from the cruise.
09:00 AM Ashkenazi Synagogue for Morning Service
09:20 AM Galata Quarter Visit and Kamondo Steps
09:50 AM Balat jewish Quarter Walking Tour
10:00 AM Ahrida Synagogue
10:20 AM Tea / Coffe Break in a local Patisserie
11:00 AM Ortakoy Etz Ahayim Synagogue
11:30 AM Ortakoy Area & Bosphorus View Walking
12:15 PM Lunch in La Casa de Barinyurt or another restaurant in Istanbul
13:00 PM Beth Israel Synagogue
13:40 PM Visit Jewish Museum
14:30 PM Neve Shalom Synagogue
15:15 PM Local Markets or Spice Bazaar Visit
16:00 PM Rustempasa Mosque Visit
16:15 PM – 16 : 30 PM End of the Tour and Return Back to the hotel or cruise ship

  • The hours can change according to the Rabbinate & Times.


Note: We have to notify the arrivals of the guests to the synagogues in Turkey and receive special permits from the rabbinate for safety purposes. To do so, we require copies of our guest’s passports, hotel addresses and insist that our guests fill out a specific Rabbinat application form.

A brief introduction on the synagogues

The Ashkenazi Synagogue

This is the only functioning Ashkenazi Synagogue for visits and prayers situated next to the Galata Tower. The last surviving synagogue of a total of three established by Ashkenazim was founded in 1900 by Ashkenazim, of Austrian roots. Visits can take place on weekday mornings and on Saturdays morning for Shabbat service.

The Neve Shalom Synagogue

It is the biggest synagogue where religious rituals take place in Istanbul, which was built and opened in 1951 and was the site of a horrific terrorist attack in 1986. The Neve Shalom is available to the public on weekday mornings and Saturday mornings for shabbat services.

The Ahrida Synagogue

Built near the Golden Horn, by the Ohri Jews (Macedonia) 550 years ago and recently renovated during the Quincentennial celebration in 1992, the Ahrida Synagogue is known for its boat-shaped bimah. It can be visited only on weekday mornings.

Etz Ahayim Synagogue

It is situated in Ortakoy, near the Bosphorus Bridge European side. The current synagogue was rebuilt in the place of old midrash, when in 1941 the former synagogue burned down with only the marble Aron-ha-Kodesh intact. Visits can be made with prior arrangements, and you can attend shabbat and weekday services in the same way.

If you need more details, please E-mail

 Private Full Day Jewish Heritage ( Synagogue ) Visits in Istanbul

Starting at 08:30 am Ends 16:30 pm

  • This is a private full-day tour offered all year round
  • Includes admission and donations for all synagogues and sites
  • Transit & Guide and LUNCH (Kosher Food) included
  • Early reservation is required
  • Additional authorisation is needed from the rabbinate
  • Prices are based on same families and friends
  • Different tour rates are valid for mix groups
  • Send us an e-mail for more information

We are available 24/7 on Whatsapp



There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Jewish Heritage in Istanbul”