Explore the Jewish Heritage on This 10 Days Tour From Istanbul
The long history of the Jews in Turkey covers 2,400 years that Jews have lived in what is now Turkey, and there have been many Jewish communities in Asia Minor since the 4th century BCE, and many Portuguese and Spanish Jews that were expelled from Spain were welcomed to the Ottoman Empire (including regions that are part of modern Turkey) in the 15th century. Despite emigration in the 20th century, modern-day Turkey continues to have an active Jewish population.
Jews have a very long history on this land, and the New Testament mentions about Jewish populations in Anatolia been widespread: Iconium (now: Konya) is believed to have a synagogue in Acts 14:1, and Ephesus is mentioned having a synagogue in Acts 19:1 and in Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians.
Based on actual evidence, there has been a Jewish settlement in Asia Minor since at least the 4th century BCE and most notably in the city of Sardis. The Garden of Eden is also thought by some to have been in Turkey since this is where the Tigris and Euphrates rise.
On this fantastic tour, you will visit Istanbul and see the Ashkenazi Synagogue, Neve Shalom Synagogue and the Ahrida Synagogue and much more. You will then visit Cappadocia with some fantastic landscape, including the magical Fairy Chimneys and the fascinating underground city.
Then onto Izmir where you will see some interesting Jewish sites before heading to the ancient city of Ephesus which is incredible and the Temple of Artemis one of the ancient wonders of the world. You will then head to Sardis and visit the famous Synagogue and Temple of Diana.
The final destination is Pamukkale, where you will see the world-famous pure white travertines and see the ruins of Hierapolis and the Aphrodisias School of Sculpture.
This is a fantastic tour and can be done in either a small group or a private tour.
- Witness some fascinating jewish history in Istanbul
- Explore the spectacular landscape of Cappadocia
- Visit some amazing Jewish heritage in the city of Izmir
- See the ancient city of Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis one of the ancient wonders of the world
- Visit the famous Synagogue and Temple of Diana in the city of Sardis
- Explore the pure white travertines of Pamukkale and the ruins of Hierapolis
- Scheduling: Private
- Languages offered on activity/tour: English, German, French, Italian
- Duration: 10 days
- Printed or Mobile Voucher Accepted
- This tour is available as a small group or private tour
- Pick-up servicePick up from Istanbul Airport
- CancellationYou can cancel your tour 7 days prior to the travel date with a full refund except for the domestic flights which are non-refundable.
- On Request
- Cut-off TimeAvailable to be booked until 3 days before the tour starts. Please note we reserve the option to confirm the tour or not due to availability.
- Domestic flights in the program
- Transportation by a comfortable AC non smoking Luxurious car/Van with professional driver
- Professional and experienced licensed guide during the tours
- All accommodation
- Entry fees to the sites unless otherwise stated
- Meals as stated in the itinerary
- Other services not mentioned
- Personal expenses
- Tips and gratuities (optional)
- Meals that are not stated in the itinerary
Arrive in Istanbul and meeting at the airport, transfer to the hotel for check- in and have the rest of the day at your leisure.
Visit The St. (Haghia) Sophia, which was constructed by Emperor Justinian and was the largest building in the world for more than 1000 years.
See its intricate mosaics and large central dome before Continuing to the Topkapi Palace, which was once used by the Ottoman Sultans from the 15th to 19th centuries and see the magnificent collection of priceless jewels, silver, crystal, and porcelain, robes that were worn by the sultans and the relics of the prophet Mohammed. (Entrance to the Harem is extra).
After lunch, we will visit the stunning Blue Mosque that was built for Sultan Ahmet I, and is a unique piece of architecture with its six minarets and features 20,000 beautiful Iznik tiles.
Visit the ancient Hippodrome with Obelisk of Theodosius, Snake Pillar and German Fountain of Wilhelm II and visit the hidden Underground Cistern.
See the Grand Covered Bazaar with its many shops perfect for your holiday souvenirs.
Visit the Ashkenazi Synagogue, before crossing over the Golden horn to Balat, which has been the centre point of Jewish presence in Istanbul for over five centuries.
We then continue to Neve Shalom Synagogue and visit the old neighbourhood and the Ahrida Synagogue, which is the oldest and most beautiful synagogue in Istanbul and was built in the 15th century.
Later in the day, we will visit the Galata Tower and the old neighbourhood of Galata where you can get a beautiful glimpse of Old Istanbul and the Zulfaris Museum, with historical and ethnographic sections that celebrate over 500 years of friendship between Turks and Jews.
We will end the tour in Ortakoy, where the Sephardic Jews were welcomed to Turkey by the Ottoman Sultan.
Take an early morning flight from the Airport in Istanbul to Cappadocia and on arrival at the airport meet with your driver just outside the arrival’s gate with a sign bearing your name and transfer to Cappadocia.
Tour to Kaymaklı Underground City, one of the most interesting underground settlements in Cappadocia before driving to Sahinefendi ( Sobesos ), where you will see some Byzantine period mosaic art and an archaeological excavation site.
Villages in the valleys that are surrounded by the “tabletop” mountains are also spectacular.
Continue your tour with Keslik Monastery near Cemil, that hides its frescoes behind a very thin smoke layer and visit Mustafapaşa (Sinasos), an old Greek town with its spectacular old houses and excellent examples of late Greek settlements and architecture.
Continue with panorama of the Red Valley, with its fabulous volcanic rock formations which are in the heart of Cappadocia but away from the tourist crowd.
In the morning, your first meeting will be with the lunar landscape of Cappadocia, which is made up of rock formations beyond belief in Devrent valley. Have a journey into the past with its troglodyte houses and visit Pasabag with its “fairy chimneys” where the sound of wind mixes with the “songs of fairies” near Zelve.
Lunch in Avanos which is the centre of terra cotta work of art since 3000 BC. and have a demonstration in a traditional pottery workshop.
In the afternoon, visit the famous Goreme Open Air Museum and see the best examples of Byzantine art in Cappadocia in rock-cut churches with frescoes and paintings (10th to 13th century).
Continue to Uchisar Rock-Castle to have a panoramic view of the valleys of Cappadocia.
Take a morning flight from Kayseri to Izmir (direct or via Istanbul). Arrival and meeting at the airport with your name sign and transfer to Izmir.
Visit Izmir’s Jewish heritage sites, and our first stop is to Izmir’s bazaar. The heart of the historical Izmir’s Jewish life was in the synagogues of La Judiera and in the area of the bazaar where the synagogues are located and where some Jewish merchants still work.
We will then take a walk along Havra Sokak, the Street of Synagogues, named for its nine small, active synagogues which served the Jewish merchants and artisans who worked close by.
We then continue our tour with the panoramic drive through the Alsancak quarter and Continue to see Beth Israel Synagogue, a beautiful Ottoman Victorian-style building.
Walk to the Asansor, a 19th-century funicular which once took passengers from the shore road up to the sheer rock cliffs to the desirable residential district above.
Visit the ancient city of Ephesus where we will spend several hours walking in the footsteps of Alexander the Great, Cicero, Caesar, Apostles Paul and John and many other historical names.
The recently opened Terrace Houses (entry extra) which is where the wealthiest Romans lived are an excellent example of sensitive excavation and presentation.
The mosaics and frescos are spectacular, and St John brought the Virgin Mary here after the Crucifixion and lived out her final years close to the city of Ephesus on an isolated mountaintop.
A lovely chapel is built on the site tended by Franciscans and is open to visitors, and it has been designated a pilgrimage site by the Pope.
Visit the Temple of Artemis to see the remains of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Drive to the city of Sardis the capital of Ancient Lydia and visit the famous Synagogue and Temple of Diana before heading on to Pamukkale and on the way, visit Aphrodisias (excluded on regular tours).
Aphrodisias was primarily known as a centre for the arts; specifically, sculpture and the Aphrodisias School of Sculpture that had a distinctive style and was very well circulated throughout the Greek and Roman world.
Discover the travertine terraces and Hierapolis. The travertine terraces at Pamukkale are the most incredible natural wonders you have ever seen from different mineral springs in a vast white cliff side, about 200 m overlooking the plain.
Calcite-laden waters which have dripped down over a series of terraced levels and created a strange fairyland of solidified cascades and shell-shaped basins. It looks like snow or like balls from cotton, which gave the scenery the Turkish name Pamukkale (cotton castle). Moreover, the water in the basins changes its colour according to how the light enters.
Transfer to Denizli airport and take a morning flight from Denizli to Istanbul airport where you will have a free afternoon for the last chance to complete your visits.
Transfer to the Airport to connect to your international flight and leave Turkey unless you choose to extend your stay.
- Make sure your names match exactly as they appear on your passport
- Where comfortable clothing and footwear as there is a lot of walking involved
- Please dress appropriately when entering any religious site
- Wear sun protection especially when you are travelling in the Summer months
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