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Ahrida Synagogue, Istanbul

4.2
Ahrida Synagogue is one of the oldest synagogues in Istanbul, Turkey. It is located in Balat, once a thriving Jewish quarter in the city.
It was built by Romaniotes (Greek Jews), from the city of Ohrid (called 'Ahrid' in Greek) in what was then the Ottoman Empire and is now the Republic of Macedonia. Neve Shalom is said to have moved to Constantinople more than 550 years ago. Sephardi Jews arrived in the Ottoman Empire from the Iberian peninsula beginning in 1492, and soon were a larger group of Jews in population than the Romaniotes. The Romaniotes of Istanbul, as in many communities, including Thessaloniki became assimilated into the Sephardic culture and adopted the Sephardic liturgy as well as the language of the Sephardim, Judesmo. The synagogue building, one of the two ancient synagogues in Istanbul's Golden Horn, was renovated in 1992 by the Quincentennial Foundation, in celebration of the 500th anniversary of Sephardic Jews' arrival in the Ottoman Empire. Ahrida Synagogue is known for its boat-shaped tevah (the reading platform, known in Ashkenazi communities as a bimah). Ahrida Synagogue is also the only synagogue in Istanbul at which Sabbatai Zevi, founder of the Jewish Sabbatean movement, prayed.
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Ahrida Synagogue Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
7 reviews
Google
4.1
TripAdvisor
  • Very beautiful synagogue with a boat-shaped bimah. I am giving 5 stars for Architectural purposes only. The visit was lame. The building was open for me and another traveller for 30 minutes. When...  more »
  • Beautiful synagogue. I got to visit a few synagogues on my trip and I can definitively say that the previous post has some pictures from Ahrida but the exterior synagogue picture is that of another...  more »
  • Ahrida (Ohrid) Synagogue is one of the oldest synagogues of İstanbul and it is located in Balat district of İstanbul,the Jewish quarters of the city.This has been renovated in 1992 and had its final.....  more »
Google
  • This is such a special place of worship - you must have clearance to enter before arriving at the door - as recent years have necessitated an additional layer of security. But, do reach out, as the energy of this land is more than you'll experience in other sacred sites.
  • I would like to share my comments but this sinagog I never saw open. It is always closed.
  • One of the oldest synagogues in Istanbul. Unfortunately we weren’t able to reach anyone via the number and the people we met at the entrance coincidentally told us that we need prior permission from the chief rabbinate, even though the number that they gave us didn’t work. Still giving a 5 star review because I’m certain that the inside is incredibly beautiful and that the building is an important part of Istanbul’s multicultural urban fabric.
  • it's seems so beautiful but l have never seen inside. l wonder. You can drink Turkish coffee around.
  • This synagogue, one of the two remaining oldest synagogues in Balat, was originally built as two separate synagogues by Romaniote Jews (Jews of the Byzantine Empire who lived in Constantinople and elsewhere long before the arrival of the Sephardim) in c. 1460, and was later used by Sephardi Jews who came from Spain via the Macedonian city of Ohrid (Ochrid). “Ahrida” is one of the two names being used by Greeks for “Ohrid.” The two groups were finally mixed, with Sephardic culture being the predominant culture now in Istanbul, so that the liturgy was being performed in the Sephardic style. The congregations were combined into one larger space (seating 500) in the 1860s. Throughout its history, this synagogue has been restored many times. After the most recent restoration, which was done in 1992 by the Quincentennial Foundation, the synagogue was open to the public for worship. The tevah (bimah) is shaped like the prow of a ship. According to legend, this structure is a fragment of Noah’s ark, or represents the boats that brought the Sephardi Jews on their journey from Spain to Istanbul. by Wikipedia

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