The Ahrida Synagogue, located on Kürkçü Çeşme Street in Balat quarter that is considered one of the most photogenic and touristic area in Fatih district of Istanbul, is qualified as the synagogue with the largest capacity in the city. The synagogue, which was built entirely of masonry stone and brick, has been actively serving since the 15th century.
The school in the courtyard of the Ahrida Synagogue, the prie-dieu of which resembles a bow, is definitely worth seeing. Ahrida Synagogue, which was taken under protection by the decision of the Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board on September 16, 1987, first served Romanyot and then Sephardic Orthodox.
Although its construction date is not known clearly, as can be understood from a decree dating back to 1693 that Ahrida Synagogue existed before the Conquest of Istanbul (Feth-i Hakani) and named after the town of Ohrid (in Macedonia) where its founders came from. It is considered as the most magnificent among the Western synagogues and also qualified as being the largest.
The building, which was previously thought to be two separate synagogues, one Sephardic and the other Romanyot, survived as a single building as a result of the collapse of the wall in between. According to the inscription written in its courtyard, the prie-dieu resembling Noah's Ark in Ahrida Synagogue, which was restored with the initiatives and suggestions of Naim Güleryüz under the guidance of Jak Kamhi and the work of Master Architect Hüsrev Tayla, is one of the most interesting details.
Another detail that makes this synagogue, built in Balat by the Jews from Macedonia in the 1400s, important is that Sabetay Sevi, who declared himself as the messiah in the 17th century, preached here when he came to Istanbul