Frontier Formalities, Passport and Visas: Nationals of the following countries can enter Turkey with a valid passport; a visa is required: Up to 3 Months Germany, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belize, United Arab Emirates, Denmark, Morocco, Fiji, Finland, France, Granada, Iran, Switzerland, Iceland, Jamaica, Japan, Canada, Qatar, Kenya, Kuwait, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Monaco, Norway, Oman, St. Lucia, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Trinidad, Tobago, Tunisia, Vatican City, New Zealand, Greece, Ecuador, Sweden, Israel, South Korea, Uruguay. Up to 2 Months The Republic of Croatia, The Republic of Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rumania, Macedonia, Indonesia. Up to 1 Month Bolivia, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, The Republic of South Africa. For the countries mentioned above and Bulgaria, a transit visa is not required. Nationals of the following countries require a visa: U.S.A., Austria, United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Holland, and Portugal can obtain a sticker visa at border gates (Up to 3 Months). Azerbaijan, White Russia, Armenia, Moldavia, Uzbekistan, Russia, Tadzhikistan Ukraine, Hungary, Poland, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Georgia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Taiwan can obtain a sticker visa at border gates (Up to 1 Month). Nationals of Guatemala can obtain a visa for up to 15 days at border gates. Nationals of Jordan, up to 30 days. Nationals of all other countries require a visa, which can be obtained from the nearest Turkish embassy or consulate.
Note: Citizens of Germany, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, Italy, Malta, Switzerland, and Greece may enter Turkey with the proper identity cards in lieu of a passport.
"The Story of Turkish Jews and 500 Years of Peace & Harmony"
DAY 01 WEDNESDAY: Meet the group at the airport a mini tours and general view of in old Istanbul part Golden Horn area before arrive to hotel. Transfer to hotel Dinner at your hotel. ON.
DAY 02 THURSDAY: Breakfast in the hotel and first visiting to The Neve Shalom Synagogue: Built and opened in 1951 and it is the largest synagogue in Istanbul where most of the religious ceremonies are held. The Neve Shalom is open to the public for morning visits during the weekdays and for Shabbat prayers every Saturday. Then walk to next Synagogue The Ashkenazi Synagogue: located near the Galata Tower, it is the only active Ashkenazi Synagogue open to visits and prayers. Founded by Ashkenazim of Austrian origin in 1900, it is the last remaining synagogue among a total of three built by Ashkenazim. Visits con be made during weekday mornings and for Shabbat services on Saturday mornings. Visit to Galata Tower, the oldest and most beautiful tower of Istanbul was constructed in 528 by the Emperor Justinian. The tower was damaged in 1261. In 1349 the Genoese have constructed a new tower on the site of the earlier tower. In 1446 the building was restored and supported by retaining walls. The tower measures 61m. From the ground and 140 m. From sea-level, The inner diameter is 8.95 m. While the walls have a thickness of 3.75m. Three floors of the tower are constructed in the style of the Genoese and the upper parts in the Turkish style. From the tower you have a magnificent view of the city of Istanbul. The Bosphorus, The Marmara Sea and the Golden Horn. Galata tower was the center of the old Jewish community. Then we continue to visit JEWISH MUSEUM in Karakoy street, just near old Tunnel where you can see the Ottoman and Turkish telorance to the Jewish communnity in Turkey and it is also a unique and only one museum one of the Muslum country in the world. This museum is also belongs to 500 Hunreds Foundation in Istanbul. We have lunch at one of the KOSHER RESTAURANT in old Istanbul part ( paying extra). Then our tour continue to visiting Hippodrome area, Ancient Hippodrome, the scene of chariot races, with the three monuments; the Obeliks of Theodosius, the bronze Serpentine Column , the Column of Constantine and German Fountain of Wilhelm II. and visit to St Sophia Museum (entrance level) This ancient basilica, built by Constantine the Great in the 4th century and reconstructed by Justinian in the 6th century, is one of the architectural marvels of all time. . Drive and visit to Grand Covered Bazaar inside thousands places, shopping/Leather etc. Dinner at one of the Kosher restaurant in Istanbul. Transfer to Hotel ON (B, )
DAY 03 FRIDAY: After having breakfast drive to visit Bet Israel Synagogue: Located in Sisli and part of the Neve-Shalom Foundation, it was initially built in the 1920's and enlarged into its present size in the early 1950's due to the majority of the Jewish population moving to that area. The most populated and active Synagogue today, the Bet-Israel can be both visited or joined for prayers after taking necessary appointments. Todays second Synagogue will be visit Etz Ahayim Synagogue: Located in Ortakoy, near the European leg of the Bosphorus Bridge. When the previous synagogue burned down in 1941 with only the marble Aron-ha-Kodesh remaining, the new synagogue was rebuilt on the location of the then midrash. Visits can be made with previous appointments and both weekday and Shabbat services can be attended likewise. After having lunch, we have trip Bosphorus Cruise on Boat: A traditional excursion by boat along the waterway seperating we have a lovely cruise route Bosphorus on Boat - cruise through the waterway separating the two continents, magic Asia and Europe. We land down at Sariyer and our bus will drive us to Yenikoy Synagogue: Located in the north of the Bosphorus in the area called Yenikoy where the Jewish population is lately increasing, this Synagogue, said to be built by Kamondo in the late 1800's, has been lately activated by the renewed presence of Jewish people in the area and only Shabbat prayers are held. Dinner at 20:30pm Orient House restaurant with Show dancing girls and dinner (1/2 wine included). Transfer to Hotel (B, )
DAY 04 SATURDAY: After breakfast visit to The Ahrida Synagogue: Located in Balat near the Golden Horn, built by Jews of Ohri (Macedonia) more than 550 years ago and recently renovated during the Quincentennial Celebrations in 1992, the Ahrida Synagogue is known foremost by its boat-shaped bimah. It can only be visited during weekday mornings. Yanbol Synagogue: Built by Jews of Yanbol, Bulgaria, in the Byzantine period, the synagogue has been rebuilt in the 18th century. It is one of the two remaining ancient synagogues of the Balat area. Next will be Bet Avraam Synagogue: Located just behind the Main Train Station in Sirkeci. It is the Synagogue nearest to the SultanahmetHippodrome area and can be reached by foot easily for Shabbat services. Appointments should be secured from the Chief Rabbinate. Then drive to Dolmabahce Palace (The last times of Kemal Ataturks lived and died here) on continue to pass from Bosphorus Bridge and arrive to Asia part (we promis you that you will be in 2 minutes, one continent to another) You never had this experience before and visioned on the way Beylerbeyi Palace (summer residance of Sultan's) then arrive to a beautiful point/hill at Camlica. The highest point in Istanbul. At the top of it you can rest and admire the magnificent panorama of Istanbul and the Bosphorus from the beautiful gardens, landscaped in in traditional style. Drive to Bosphorus way to our Gulistan (a fish Restaurant with Bosphorus view ) before arrive to restaurant we visit to Rumeli Fortress, built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452 prior to the conquest of Istanbul, was completed in only four months to control and protect Bosphorus. It is one of the most beautiful works of military architecture anywhere in the world. Dinner near Sariyer. Return to Hotel (B, )
DAY 05: SUNDAY: Breakfast in the hotel and your flight. Transfer to airport. (B) *** MEALS (Care Jewish Food): Be note that upon request we can arrange the recommended Kosher Restaurants in Istanbul. There are 5 Kosher restaurants available in Istanbul some located and serving in the Hotels 4 * Armada Hotel - 4* Cartoon Hotel (Sofra), Carne Restaurant in Ortakoy we can advice one or 2 of them. Breakfasts in the hotels.
Conditions: - Daily prayers start at 7:30 AMIN all synagogues. - Upon request we can change the Synagogues name visits pre or post in the tour quotation. - Shabbat services start at 8:00 AM at all times. - Friday afternoon Shabbat services start according to sundown hours. Approximate hours can be found below. - If carrying a passport on Shabbat is not possible, please point this out when contacting the relevant Synagogue offices or Rabbinate. - For eating kosher in our city, please call the restaurant or in advance for reservations or call (within office hours) before 24 hours if you plan to eat in one of our social aid institutions.
(Jewish) Service Times for Synagogues: Very important: Please be Note that all passports number must send with ( number and full name in advance (at least 15 days before) to the relevant office and carry your passport with you for security checks during your visits to all synagogues.)
Accommodation in 4 stars hotels in istanbul - a professional licenced tour Guide - Mentioned meals above in the tour program - A comfortable Bus, car or minivan - All entrance fees where necessary.
Drinks on the meals - Self expences in Hotel rooms (Minibar- Laundry-Telephone etc) - Tips to Guide and Driver.
Herewith I would like to emphasize again the excellent experience we had last week with our guide Yildirim on the climbing of the Ararat. He was taking care of us with a lot of attention and we could really trust on him. Also after the climbing he was escorting us very kindly and all appointments were taken accurately. It was really a great pleasure for us.
We should also congratulate Celam who prepared nice meals, always with enthousiasm, and we will remind him as our good cook forever.
As soon as we have the opportunity, we will send you some pictures about this expedition.
Be assured we are happy about the way it was organised.
Pierre Kockerols / Brussel