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FULL DAY JEWISH HERITAGE TOUR:
Your English-speaking, professional tour guide and your AC deluxe vehicle will meet you at the Istanbul pier. (Galata Quarter, Galata Tower, Neve Shalom Synagogue, Ashkenazy Synagogue, Zulfaris Synagogue, Balat, Achrida Synagogue, Jewish Cemetery).
Experience Jewish Istanbul today: Begin your tour of Sephardic history at theGalata Quarter, a region which had been almost completely Jewish for more than 400 years. Today, Galata is known throughout the world by its huge tower, built in 1303 by the Genovese. Visit the Galata Tower. The Office of the Chief Rabbinate is also located in Galata. Today, there are 16 synagogues in Istanbul that are still in use. First, visit the Neve Shalom Synagogue (we need your full name, birthday and passport number in order to get the special permission for visiting the Synagogues in Istanbul), used for most of the community functions today, as well as the Ashkenazy Synagogue dating from the nineteenth century and the only Ashkenazy synagogue in Istanbul, originally built by the Austrian Jews. Stop at the Zulfaris Synagogue, which now also serves as the Museum of Turkish Jewish Museum since 2001. Its name comes from the street where it is located, which was called Zulf-u arus (present day Percemli Sokak) in Karakoy, which means “bridal curls” in both versions, as it was here that the brides, over the centuries, would walk by to go to the synagogue to get married.
Lunch at a local Seafood Restaurant. (Lunch fee is not included)
Drive to Balat, a Jewish working-class district on the shores of the Golden Horn, which absorbed most of the settlers in the fifteenth century from Spain. Visit the recently restored Abrida (Achrida) Synagogue, originally built in the 15thcentury and is the earliest synagogue in Istanbul. The original 20-foot long oak bimah (teva), shaped either like Noah’s Ark or, like the Ottoman ship which brought the Sephardim to freedom from Spain to Turkey, can still be seen. Then visit the Jewish Cemetery. Shopping opportunity before returning to the Cruise Ship.
SYNAGOGUE VISIT: Some Synagogues may not be accessible at the time of your tour. We need your passport copies by email or fax for Synagogue visit permission.