Istanbul Jewish Tours


Istanbul Jewish Tours – “How can you call Ferdinand a wise king? He impoverishes his kingdom and enriches mine!” says sultan Beyazid II when he welcomed the Jewish families into Istanbul in 1492 after the dark times of the Inquisition in Spain.

The history of the Jewish presence in Istanbul goes back to the Byzantine Empire. An official decree dating the 420 AD shows that Theodosius II exiled the Jews from Constantinople to Galata and they mostly had difficult times during the reign of the Byzantine Empire.

After the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 the Romaniots (Jews who lived under the Byzantine rule) became free, equal citizens of the Ottoman Empire. The ghettos of the Byzantine era became free Jewish neighborhoods in Istanbul. The most important Jewish neighborhoods are Galata, Balat, Haskoy, Sisli, Ortakoy, Ulus on the European part of Istanbul and Kuzguncuk, Kadikoy, Haydarpasa on the Asian part of Istanbul. There are about 17 active synagogues today in Istanbul. The Jewish community and synagogues are under the authority of the Chief Rabbinate Office. The Chief Rabbinate Office is officially recognized by the Turkish constitution and law.

By our private Istanbul Jewish Tours, our professional lecturer – tour guides would guide you through the old and new Jewish neighborhoods of Istanbul. You will be given wide information about the past and present Jewish life in Istanbul. Like our other private tours in Istanbul, the private Jewish tours are also tailor made. We may also design itineraries that combine the Jewish sites with main sites Istanbul if our guests prefer to do so.

We are available to assist our guests with their special needs:  Kosher food catering and prayer reservations at the synagogues etc.

Jewish Sites of Istanbul


There are many more sites worth visiting in Istanbul. The ones on this page are only the main attractions. For more information about your desired itinerary please do not hesitate to contact us. We would be more than glad to assist you with your travel plans.

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