Welcome to World Jewish Heritage

Rediscover your heritage like never before

Experience Jewish heritage travel to the fullest with the WJHtravel app


From World Jewish Heritage Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search



Basic Information

Location 41°02′12″N 29°01′47″E
Country Turkey
City Istanbul

General Information

Open to visitors yes
Need appointment no
Handicap accessibility no
Geographical Coordinates 41.03658,29.02979


Kuzguncuk is a neighborhood in the Üsküdar district on the Asian side of the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey. The neighborhood is centered on a valley opening to the Bosphorus and is somewhat isolated from the main part of the city, being surrounded by nature preserves, cemeteries, and a military installation. It is a quiet neighborhood with streets lined with antique wooden houses.

Kuzguncuk is bordered on the north by Beylerbeyi, on the east by Burhaniye, on the south by İcadiye and Sultantepe, and on the west by the Bosphorus. On the other side of the Bosphorus is Beşiktaş. The Otoyol 1 O-1 highway separates the neighborhood from Burhaniye.

History and time period

The word kuzguncuk means "little raven" or "barred window of a prison door" in Turkish. The name is said to have come from a holy person named Kuzgun Baba, who lived in the area during the time of Sultan Mehmet II or from the corruption of a previous name, Kozinitza.

During Byzantine times, this area may have been called Khrysokeramos (Hrisokeramos), meaning "golden tile," because of a church here with a gilded roof. Around 553, Narses had a church built here dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

Jews, who were expelled from Spain and Portugal, began settling in the Ottoman Empire in the late 15th century. As voluntary immigrants, they had more freedom concerning their place of residence, and many left the traditional Jewish quarters of Istanbul such as Balat for villages along the Bosphorus such as Kuzguncuk. The earliest evidence of Jewish presence in the neighborhood is a tombstone dated 1562.

Armenians began settling in Kuzguncuk in the 18th century and had become a sizable group by the 19th century. Ottoman records show a 1834 request that their nighttime religious services be allowed to continue without interference. In 1835, their first church was built.

After the establishment of Israel, the Jewish population, once sizable in Kuzguncuk, decreased rapidly.

The riots of 1955 caused the emigration of many members of Istanbul's minority groups, including Kuzguncuk's Greeks and Armenians. There are very few non-Muslims left today. This exodus opened up cheap housing to immigrants from Anatolia, changing the ethnic composition of Istanbul's neighborhoods. Most of the new residents of Kuzguncuk came from the Black Sea Region. By the end of the 20th century, 15% of neighborhood residents were from İnebolu, 15% from Rize, 10% from Trabzon, 10% from Tokat, 10% from Kars, and 10% from Sivas.

The police station in Kuzguncuk was moved due to low crime statistics

Photo Gallery

Related links