Museum of Turkish Jews
Türk Musevileri Müzesi
/ By Josh
(10TL if you have a Turkish student card) You need ID to get in.
Great for: Jewish History, Ottoman History
In the heart of Galata, on the same street as Galata Tower, is the Museum of the Jewish community in Turkey. The museum opened in 2001 as a part of the 500-year-anniversary of Spanish Jews being granted asylum by the Ottomans. The museum dedicated to showing the long history of the Jewish people in this land and the role that they have played in the various cultures that have called the region home.
The museum can be divided into roughly four sections. The first is focused on the Jewish presence here from the Roman period through to the Turkish Republic where major events such as the arrival of Spanish Jews and the Holocaust are highlighted. Many of the displays focus on the Jewish community’s contribution to the Ottoman Empire and Turkish Republic in government, media, the military, and society in general.
Another part of the museum focuses on the daily life and culture of Jews in Turkey where traditional clothes, festivals, holidays, cuisine, and the meaning behind them are on display and explained.
Subscribe to The Art of Wayfaring
The last sections are dedicated to the Jewish religion, where the fundamental beliefs and practices are explained and numerous objects from historic synagogues are on display. From the museum you also have the unique opportunity to visit an active Turkish Synagogue and sometimes watch different ceremonies and services from a viewing gallery in the museum. Neve Shalom Synagogue is the largest synagogue in Turkey (by size of congregation).
The museum is definitely high quality and very informative. The one area where the museum lacks is in its unwillingness to mention any of the negative points of Jewish history in Turkey. The extreme level of security at the museum is testament to the fact that life has not always been rosy for the Jewish community in Turkey.
For more info, up to date details, and other Jewish history related events check out the museums official website:
How To Get There
While the signage may not be great, the museum is only about 100 metres from Galata Tower on Büyük Hendek Street. The museum will be on your right as you walk towards the tower.
Where To Stay
As The Museum of Turkish Jews is right in the heart of touristic Istanbul basically anywhere in the city will be convenient.
Want to see more sights and destinations in Istanbul? Check out our full list of sights or The Istanbul Top 10.
Have any tips or info to add? Spot any mistakes? We’d love to hear about it.