Open up a world of Turkish inspiration with a Cornucopia digital subscription

Buy or gift a stand-alone digital subscription and get unlimited access to dozens of back issues for just £18.99 / $18.99 a year.

Please register at with your subscriber account number or contact

Buy a digital subscription Go to the Digital Edition
  • Go to website
  • T: +90 212 292 63 33 / 34
  • F: +90 212 244 44 74
  • Email:
Find it

Jewish Museum of Turkey

Büyük Hendek Cad.No 39, Bereketzade Mah., Şişhane, Beyoglu 34421 Istanbul

Mon–Thu: 10.00–16.00, Fri: 10.00–14.00, Sun: 10.00–14.00

A 10-minute walk downhill from either İstiklâl Caddesi and the Şişhane metro station. Or a five-minute walk Bankalar Caddesi from the Karaköy tram stop.

The museum has moved up from the 17th-century Zülfaris Synagogue to just next to the Neve Shalom Syanagogue – from a balcony it is possible to see the interior and observe religious ceremonies. The museum tells the story of the 500-plus-year Jewish presence in Turkey through a collection of objects, documents and photographs, divided thematically between the history and cultural heritage of Turkish Jews and their contributions to the social and governmental life. It also illustrates the intermingling cultures of Jewish and Muslim Turks and delves into the ethnographic traditions of Turkish Jews, as well as the historical accounts of the Jewish odyssey from Spain to Turkey.

At the entrance is a metal sculpture by Nadia Arditti erected in memory of the Turkish Jews who fought in the Balkan, Dalmatia, Caucasus, Palestine, Tripolitania, Dardannelles, Korea and Liberation wars. In the main hall are information panels related to the history of the Zülfaris Synagogue, the Hahambaşı institution, the daily life of Jews living in Istanbul and Anatolia, as well as artefacts such as letters, maps, tallits and firmans (imperial decrees). A copy of the Lausanne Treaty that recognised the sovereignty of the Republic of Turkey and with which Turkish Jews relinquished their minority privileges is also on display. The ehal (ark) on the same floor holds two torah scrolls.

Another information panel narrates how Jewish academics fled to Turkey from Europe during the Second World War and the Turkish diplomats who helped Jews escape the Holocaust. Osman Streater recounts this in ‘The Monsignor and the Minister’ in Cornucopia 24, an account of the wartime friendship between the future Pope John XXIII and his great-uncle Numan Menemencioğlu, Turkey’s Foreign Minister from 1942 to 1944, who together saved about 100,000 Jews from the Nazis.

The balcony, which used to be the prayer section for women when the building was a synagogue, holds paintings depicting the daily lives of the local Jewish community. The lower floor is organised chronologically as an ethnographic section with photographs, paintings and objects pertaining to birth, circumcision and wedding traditions, as well as examples of clothing and jewellery.

More Reading
Good places to stay
Buy the latest issue
Or, browse the back issues here
Issue 66, December 2023 Turkey’s Centenary Issue
£ 15.00

If you like this, don't miss..
Cornucopia Digital Subscription

The Digital Edition

Cornucopia works in partnership with the digital publishing platform Exact Editions to offer individual and institutional subscribers unlimited access to a searchable archive of fascinating back issues and every newly published issue. The digital edition of Cornucopia is available cross-platform on web, iOS and Android and offers a comprehensive search function, allowing the title’s cultural content to be delved into at the touch of a button.

Digital Subscription: £18.99 / $18.99 (1 year)

Subscribe now