İzmir Jewish Heritage Tours

Izmir Jewish Tours – The presence of the Jewish community in Izmir goes back to the 4th century BC. After the conquest of Jerusalem, Alexander the Great brought some Jews to Izmir. According to the biblical scripts, at the time of St. Paul, there were Jewish communities in Izmir. During the Byzantine Empire, they did not respect the Jewish communities in the region.

There was no record of the Jewish community in the region when the Ottomans conquered the city in 1424. The earliest records that lighten the first Jewish communities during the Ottoman rule reached the 17th century when the Sephardic Jews started to settle in the Izmir, as it became an important trade center of its time.

We know that in the 19th century, the population of the Jews in Izmir was around 20,000. In the 1950s, the Jews in the area started to immigrate to the newly founded Israel. Today about 2000 Jews are living in Izmir.

As the city has its port and located very close to Kusadasi Port, we are available to arrange private tours in Izmir. Our private Izmir Jewish Tours cover several synagogues, old Jewish neighborhoods, the house of Shabtai Tzvi (a rabbi who lived in the 16th century and claimed to be the Messiah) and the ancient city of Sardes (Sardis) that has 1700 years old synagogue ruins (depending on the arrival and departure time of our guests)

Please do not hesitate to contact us for any further information regarding our Izmir Jewish Tours.

Algaze Synagogue

Algaze Synagogue is located in Karatas and is one of the many synagogues in the district.

The was built in 1724 by the Algaze family in Izmir. By the restorations, in the 20th century, the Menizah was removed. According to an unverified story, a young rabbi blinked to a lady, and the chief rabbi removed the Menizah.

Today the tevah of the synagogue located in the center of the building surrounded by four columns, elevated by four steps.

Beth Israel Synagogue

Beth Israel Synagogue is also in the Karatas district. According to a proclamation in 1904, the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid wanted this synagogue for the Jews living in the neighborhood.

The Beth Israel Synagogue was built in the church form, a result of the Italian effect in the 20th century, and has two tevah that were elevated by four steps.

The synagogue is the most active in Izmir.

Bikur Holim Synagogue

Bikur Holim Synagogue is the most beautiful and preserved synagogue in Izmir.

The building was a donation from Shlomo de Chaves, who was a Dutch and lived in Izmir. The date of the original building was 1772, but after a fire that affected the city and synagogue, the new building was built in 1800, again by Shlomo de Chaves.

Thanks to the preservation of the building, the Bikur Holim Synagogue holds traces from the 19th century.

Shalom Synagogue

The Shalom Synagogue is one of the oldest synagogues in Izmir and was initially built in the 16th century and is across the Algaze Synagogue.

The building survived the great fire in Izmir but had two restorations in 1800 and 1841.

The elevated tevah and surrounded by four columns. Its ceiling has extraordinary geometrical shapes. Comparing to the other synagogues in the area, the Shalom Synagogue is slightly smaller.

Signora Giveret Synagogue

Signora Giveret Synagogue is in the Karatas district.

We know that Donna Garcia Mendes built the synagogue in the 16th century. The great fire in 1841, damaged the synagogue, Yerushalmi family rebuilt the building entirely.

Seats of the synagogues are linear, and like the other synagogues in Izmir, the Tevah is close to the Bimah. The hall has decorations of unique paintings of landscape.

Shaar Hashamayim Synagogue

The Shaar Hashamayim Synagogue is the second most active synagogue in Izmir after Beth Israel Synagogue.

As it had several restorations, the original look of the building is unknown. The construction of this synagogue has a different character as it is entirely concrete.

The synagogue was built as three floors and has 2 Tevah elevated by two steps.

Sardis Synagogue

Sardis (Sardes) was a famous ancient city served as the capital of the Lydian Kingdom and administrative town of the Lydian region during the Roman era.

We know that the city had a Jewish community in the 4th century BC. The archaeologists found the synagogue ruins during an excavation in the 1960s. The history of the synagogue goes back to the 3rd – 4th century AD. The rectangular structure of the building is 120 mt long and 18 mt wide, and it was adequate to accommodate about 1000 people. The floor has breathtaking mosaics that show that the economic status of the community was very high.

We strongly recommend adding Sardis into the Izmir Jewish Tours itinerary as this ancient city is remarkable in terms of Jewish history in Asia Minor.

The Synagogues are closed on weekends, official and religious holidays. We require passport information is at least two days before the Izmir Jewish Tours. This process is necessary by the Rabbinate Office in Izmir. Please note that the synagogues require entrance fees.

If you would like to attend the prayers at one of the synagogues, we would be able to arrange the entries for our guests. Please contact us for more information.