Home - Istanbul Daily Tours - Jewish Heritage Tour
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-Lunch on the Tour

-Private Car with Driver and Guide

-Entrance fees to Museums and Historical Sites 




After breakfast at your hotel then we will pick you up from your hotel then start the Jewish Heritage Tour with,


Rich vineyards and forests covered the south-facing slopes of the Golden Horn in  Byzantine times. The Ottoman sultans came to what they called Haskoy to hunt and to enjoy its natural beauty. In the 1700s, they built an imperial pleasure villa, Aynalikavak Kasri. Residential areas grew up later, including a lively Jewish one. Today Haskoy has the Jewish Home for the Aged, the Kamondo mansion, and a large Jewish cemetery which includes the Kamondo mausoleum.

The Jewish Home for the Aged, is a handsome classical stone building originally constructed in 1874 by the Alliance Israélite Universelleas a modern European-style school. The Home is located on a quiet street in a residential district with vibrant street life. As you walk to the school, picture these narrow streets as they were a century ago, alive with the sounds of Judeo-Spanish, and dotted with small synagogues.


Founded in May, 1860 in Paris, the Alliance Israélite Universelle was a mutual aid and protection society. Its mission was to promote closer cooperation among Jews throughout the world; to protect Jewish communities which were under pressure; and to promote Jewish community life through culture and education.

In the Ottoman Empire, the Alliance established schools first in Baghdad and Damascus, then in Volos, Edirneand Salonica. Istanbuland Izmir, with their large Jewish communities, had several schools each.

The Haskoy school was opened in 1874 for Jewish girls. The curriculum included sewing, knitting, cooking and other aspects of home economics. Many other Ottoman towns received schools as well. An agricultural school-the first one in the system-was opened in Jaffa, in Ottoman Palesine, in 1870. Though meant primarily for the Jewish community, the schools accepted non-Jewish students as well.


The imposing stone building on the right-hand (northwest) side at the Golden Horn  is the former Kamondo Mansion, now used as the headquarters of the Turkish Navy's northern region. The house--actually a small palace--was built by the wealthy and influential Kamondo family. When the last of the Kamondos died without heirs, the mansion was willed to the Turkish government. As a military installation, it is not open to visitors, but even from the outside, in its beautiful situation on the Golden Horn, it is impressive.

KAMONDO MAUSOLEUM  To view the Kamondo Mausoleum you must take a ride on the Birinci cevreyolu, the expressway which skirts the central area of the city to the north of Haskoy. Tragically, the path of the expressway passes directly through the midst of the large Haskoy Jewish Cemetery. The Kamondo mausoleum is set prominently on a hill just to the north of the roadway, a short distance northeast of the Golden Horn, especially when travelling westbound.

AHAYIM JEWISH HOSPITAL  Ahayim Jewish Hospital, built in 1897. A 120-bed hospital attended mostly by Jewish physicians, it's located in the swath of parkland created in the mid-1980s to beautify the Golden Horn's banks.

RAHMIKOC MUSEUMYour next stop will be Rahmi Koc Museum; on the banks of the Golden Horn, Rahmi Koc Museum is a new complex, which is unexpected and delightful as a glimpse into Istanbul s past. The Rahmi M Koc Museum is the first major museum in Turkey dedicated to the history of Transport, Industry and Communications. Housed in magnificent buildings - themselves prime examples of industrial archaeology - on the shore of the historic Golden Horn, the collection contains thousands of items from gramophone needles to full size ships and aircraft. The location is unrivalled - romantic, historic, convenient to both the Old City and the new.


Great conflagrations gutted Huskoy in 1756, 1883 and 1918, with disastrous results. The old Kol Kadosh Kushta synagogue was however reconstructed after 1918. During the nineteenth century, and especially after the Russian Revolution and World War II, the local community was joined by newcomers from Russia. The Karaites were merchants (especially of pearls), artisans (mostly goldsmiths) and clerks, but a few entered the liberal professions. In 1955 the Karaites numbered 350 persons. In the 1960's and 1970's the Karaites left the Haskoy quarter, and thus lost what little had been left of communal life. In 1982 only 150 were left.


The first building was thought to have been built in the early 1400s, but a disastrous fire in the 1600s did extensive damage. In 1694 the sultan issued a decree calling for its reconstruction. The work was done in the Ottoman Baroque style popular at that time, the so-called "Tulip Period" in Ottoman artistic and court life.During the extensive restorations carried out in 1990 and 1991, remnants of architectural details from the 1700s and 1800s were discovered. Architect Hitsrev Tayla, in charge of the restoration work, has included many of these earlier details in the final plan so as to symbolize the Ahrida's long and illustrious history.Besides the synagogue's fascinating architecture, be sure to examine its priceless furnishings, including the bema (pulpit) shaped like the prow of a ship, said by some to symbolize Noah's Ark.

At the end of the tour we will transfer you to your hotel.

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