The Quincentennial Foundation Museum Of Turkish Jews, which has been in service since 2001 in Karaköy Perçemli Street, has welcomed its visitors to its new complex, The Neve Shalom Synagogue in December 2015 with its updated content and modern exhibition technologies. The museum consists of the presentation of the 2600 years of historical and cultural heritage of Turkish Jews in this land, their contributions to the social and state life of the country they live in; of sections presenting the history,the ethnography,The Midrash, where religious objects are exhibited, the traditions, the life cycle and the settlements. The midway hall, which establishes the physical connection between the Museum and Neve Shalom, which is located on 3 floors, enables the live viewing of religious ceremonies in the synagogue. Witnessing rituals such as circumcision, weddings and Bar Mitzvah actually makes the museum visitor a part of the ceremony. Equipped with contemporary museum concepts, interactive panels have been designed and technology has found its place in the museum with touch screens. In the Cultural Center, which is located in the basement and used for temporary exhibitions, periodical exhibitions are frequently held. In 2001, the Synagogue was put into service as a museum, with the valuable contributions of the Kamhi family, Naim A. Güleryüz's suggestions and design, within the framework of the celebration program by The Quincentennial Foundation. The building maintained this function until 2015.
Haskoy is one of the oldest districts where Jews used to live and one of the older still-used Jewish cemeteries is located there. During the many centuries the Haskoy Cemetery was used, as a result of earthquakes as well as the destructive intrusions of private people and official authorities, the plot has been significantly reduced. Especially in 1972 when highways and the Golden Horn Bridge were being built, hundreds of tombstones had to be moved.
Maalem Synagogue is a synagogue located on the slopes overlooking the Golden Horn near the Jewish old age home in the Hasköy district of Istanbul, Turkey. It is the only remaining open synagogue in an area that once had many Jewish residents. The synagogue is open for visits only during weekdays.
The Hebrew name “Or Ahayim” literally translates as “Light of Life” — and a true light of life the hospital has been and remains to be for Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike. Originally founded as a dispensary for the Jewish poor, the hospital, still funded and administrated by the Jewish community of Turkey, now serves the almost completely Muslim population of Balat, a sign of the commitment of Istanbul Jews to the city in which they live and have been rooted since early-Ottoman times and, in the cases of those who can claim Romaniote origins, far longer. The Or Ahayim Jewish hospital in Balat was founded and built in the last decades of the 19th century. Its construction and original endowment was funded by large donations from wealthy Istanbul Jewish families, as well as by masses of small coins placed into collection boxes by Istanbul’s far more numerous Jewish working poor. The monumental former entrance way as shown above, built in 1898 to replace an earlier structure, was designed by Architect Gabriel Tedeschi who, if I am correct, was also the architect of the Ashkenazic Synagogue (built as the Austro-Hungarian Synagogue) near the Galata Tower on Yüksek Kaldιrιm in the Karakoy section of Istanbul. Today, Or Ahayim complex comprises the only buildings in Balat still standing on the shore side of the Golden Horn coastal road, on what is now a park but was once the site of a shore-front slum.
According to tradition, the Ahrida Synagogue was founded in 1430 by Jews from the city of Ohry, Macedonia, thus the origin of its name (Ahrida / Ohrida). The synagogue was destroyed in a fire in the 1600s. A decree by the sultan in 1694 led to the building’s reconstruction, which was carried out in the Ottoman Baroque style popular at that time. Particular examples of the Ottoman style are the mother-of-pearl inlaid doors of the Ark and wooden domes. It has a unique boat shaped bemah, said to symbolize Noah’s Ark. The building was extensively restored in the early 1992 when remnants of architectural details from the 1700s and 1800s were discovered. Elements of those details were included in the restoration. The unique boat shaped bemah (pulpit) is said to symbolize either Noah’s Ark or the ships that brought Sephardic Jews from Spain to the Ottoman Empire.