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Balat
Balat

Balat

Free admission
Balat Mahallesi, Istanbul, 34087

The Basics

During the early Ottoman period, the population of Balat ballooned with Jewish citizens who had fled Spain in 1492 and relocated, with the Sultan’s welcome, to Istanbul. At one time, there were 19 synagogues dotting the narrow, atmospheric streets of Balat. Today, the neighborhood's colorful houses and cobblestone streets draw photographers and are perfect for a stroll.

Private and small-group walking tours of Balat often stop at the Chora Museum, Fener district, Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarchate, Eyup neighborhood, Walls of Constantinople, and more.

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Things to Know Before You Go

  • Wear comfortable shoes to explore the cobblestone streets of Balat.

  • Balat is a must-visit for history and architecture buffs.

  • The synagogues in Balat can only be visited with prior permission from Istanbul’s head rabbi.

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How to Get There

Balat is located up the Golden Horn past the Fener district and is easily accessible by bus from Eminonu pier. It’s possible to walk to Balat from Eminonu, though not all the streets have sidewalks. It is easy to reach Balat by taxi. Book a tour that includes transportation for maximum convenience.

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Trip ideas

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When to Get There

Balat gets busy in the afternoon, when people flock to the neighborhood's cafes and colorful streets. Visit early in the day to beat the crowds and have the area to yourself. Evening is also a nice time to visit, though some of the cultural sites might not be open.

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Jewish Sites in Istanbul

Balat is home to two of Istanbul’s major synagogues, the Ahrida Synagogue and Yanbol Synagogue. There are also remains of a Jewish school and hospital nearby. Other major Jewish sites are in the Galata neighborhood, where you can find the Jewish Museum, and in the Kuzguncuk neighborhood.

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