Maalem Synagogue, Istanbul

Maalem Synagogue, Istanbul

Maalem Synagogue, nestled on the slopes overlooking the picturesque Golden Horn near the Jewish old age home in Istanbul's Hasköy district, stands as a poignant reminder of the city's once-thriving Jewish community. This historic synagogue, dating back to 1754, is the sole remaining active house of worship in an area that was once densely populated by Jewish residents. Open for visits during weekdays, Maalem Synagogue also regularly hosts Shabbat services, continuing its long-standing tradition as a center for Jewish worship and community life.

The recent restoration of Maalem Synagogue has breathed new life into this elegant structure. After years of abandonment, the synagogue now boasts a courtyard encased by a high wall, offering a serene and protected space for congregation and reflection. The entrance is marked by two marble columns that lead to a large, almost square hall, distinguished by six pillars that support its structure. At the heart of this hall is the tevah, uniquely designed in the shape of a ship—a nod to the maritime heritage of the region and reminiscent of the design found in the Ahrida Synagogue.

Above, a small dome adorned with floral decorations crowns the space, under which sits the aron with its wooden doors featuring richly gilt moldings. The restoration has not only revitalized the building's structure but has also revealed parts of the original mural decorations, adding a layer of visual history and beauty to the space. The hall's interior, once characterized by its simple and restrained design with light plastered walls and dark wooden pews, now alternates between sky blue and white, creating a bright and inviting atmosphere for worship and contemplation.

Maalem Synagogue's restoration and continued operation symbolize the enduring presence and resilience of the Jewish community in Istanbul. It stands as a historical beacon, inviting visitors to explore its rich heritage and to participate in its ongoing story of faith, tradition, and community.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Istanbul. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Maalem Synagogue on Map

Sight Name: Maalem Synagogue
Sight Location: Istanbul, Turkey (See walking tours in Istanbul)
Sight Type: Religious

Walking Tours in Istanbul, Turkey

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