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Ahrida Synagogue

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Ahrida Synagogue


Basic Information

Location 41.03278°N 28.94556°E
Phone number 212/293-8794
Country Turkey
City Istanbul
Address Ayvansaray Mh., 34087 Fatih/Istanbul Province

General Information

Open to visitors yes
Need appointment no
Handicap accessibility no
Geographical Coordinates 41.03273,28.94552


Ahrida Synagogue is one of the oldest synagogues in Istanbul, Turkey. It is located in Balat, the Jewish quarter of the city.

History and time period

It was built by Romaniotes (Greek Jews), but after the arrival of the Sephardi Jews it was used exclusively by them. The Romaniotes were from the city of Ohrid in what was then the Ottoman Empire and is now the Republic of Macedonia, and it is said to have moved to Constantinople more than 550 years ago. 'Ahrida' is one of the two names being used by Greeks for the city of Ohrid. Sephardi Jews arrived in the Ottoman Empire from the Iberian peninsula in 1492, a larger group of Jews in population than the Romaniotes. The result of this was the assimilation of the Romaniotes by the Sephradic culture. The two groups were finally mixed, with Sephardic culture being the predominant culture now in Istanbul so that the liturgy was being done in the Sephardic style and the Jewish community of the city spoke the Ladino language. The building, being one of the two ancient synagogues in 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 foremost by its boat-shaped tevah. Ahrida Synagogue is also the only synagogue in Istanbul at which Sabbatai Zevi, founder of the Jewish Sabbatean movement, prayed.

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