famous of Istanbul's
old synagogues, the Ahrida Synagogue,
also called the Okhrida,
is in the Balat district
on the Golden Horn, at no. 9 on the
street officially named Vodina Caddesi,
but often called Kürkçü Çesme
gain access to the synagogue you
must apply in advance to the office
of the Chief Rabbi in Istanbul.
The Ahrida and
nearby Yanbol are
said to take their names from the towns
in Macedonia from which their
founding congregations migrated in Byzantine times.
The foundations of the Ahrida
may date from the late 1400s, or
may be even older.
first building was thought to have
been built in the early 1400s, but
a disastrous fire in the 1600s
did extensive damage. In 1694 the
sultan issued a decree calling for
its reconstruction. The work was
done in the Ottoman Baroque
style popular at that time, the so-called "Tulip
Period" in Ottoman artistic
and court life.
The synagogue, gutted for restoration...
||The Ahrida, restored...
the extensive restorations carried
out in 1990 and 1991, remnants of architectural
details from the 1700s and 1800s were
Tayla, in charge of the
restoration work, has included many
of these earlier details in the final
plan so as to symbolize the Ahrida's
long and illustrious history.
the synagogue's fascinating architecture,
be sure to examine its priceless furnishings,
including the bema (pulpit)
shaped like the prow of a ship, said
by some to symbolize Noah's
|Above, Istanbul's Ahrida
Synagogue after restoration