Breathtaking Jewish Heritage
Shomer Shabbat Discovery of Turkey
With Joy Katzen-Guthrie
Contact us to learn when
this tour is offered again.
Journey Outside Yourself....
Jewish Heritage Tours with Joy!
Be swept away by the wonders of Turkey and its rich Jewish Heritage on this Shomer Shabbat Heritage Tour of Istanbul, Izmir, Cappadocia, and much more. Turkey is the only country to span two continents, literally a bridge between East and West. Geographically, it is the meeting point of Europe and Asia. Culturally, Turkey has evolved through a succession of many of the world’s greatest civilizations and is a strong blend of East and West. Among many of the oldest surviving Greek, Roman, Jewish, Christian, Sufi, and Ottoman Empire artifacts, we'll visit opulent Ottoman-era synagogues and some of the planet's oldest Jewish settlements. Our sightseeing includes the ruins of the ancient Turkish city of Thyatira as well as Sardis with Sardis Synagogue, dating from the 3rd century BCE when King Antiochus III encouraged Jews from Babylonia and other nations to move to this city. Our tour also includes Izmir with its thriving Jewish community dating to the 2nd century, where we'll walk along its Street of Synagogues. The unique and surreal landscape of Cappadoccia will captivate you with its rock formations called fairy chimneys and richly-frescoed churches carved from caves. Marvel at Kaymakli, the underground city which extends eight floors below the surface of the earth. Turkey is a land of exotic treasures and rich with a deep, warm Jewish history.
Register Now For This One-of-a-kind Mystical Journey to Turkey!
Turkey is home to great cities and breathtaking regions unlike any other place on earth such as Cappadocia,
home to magnificent architectural sites attesting to ancient civilizations and cultures,
extraordinary geological formations; and mysterious cave dwellings and sunken cities.
See and hear of some of the ancient archaeological sights of Central Turkey on this tour.
The Jewish Community of Izmir Turkey's third largest city received official recognition as a legal entity by the Turkish State in December 2011. Following the decision, the Izmir Jewish community is now legally considered a foundation with full control over its assets and 22 immovable properties, including 18 synagogues and four stores in the city. We are thrilled for this decision and look forward to our visit to Izmir. Click to READ MORE of this historic decision by the Turkish Directorate General for Foundations.
Click to Visit ARKADASH The Turkish Jewish Community in Israel
and My Ladino the Ladino site of the Turkish Jewish Community in Israel
Day 1: Oct. 15, 2012 Monday, Depart your home city for Istanbul, Turkey
Day 2. Oct. 16, 2012 Tuesday, Arrival in Istanbul (Welcome Dinner)
Upon arrival meet with tour guide at the airport and transfer to the hotel.
Overnight in Istanbul. Group welcome dinner
Day 3: Oct. 17, 2012, Wednesday Istanbul B,D
Today we visit the old Jewish districts of Istanbul, including Neve Salom Synagogue, (meaning "Oasis or Valley of Peace"), still Istanbul's most modern and magnificent synagogue, witness for some 75 years of the Galata district's observances, festivals, ceremonies, weddings, b'nei mitzvah and funerals. We'll visit the more than a century old Ashkenazi Synagogue, so called because it was founded by Jews of Austrian origin. Of three such synagogues in Istanbul, it is the last remaining and still in service. Our tour also includes one of Istanbul's oldest synagogues, the Ahrida Synagogue built by Greek Jews migrating from the city of Ohrid in the 15th century. And we'll see the early 19th-century Zulfaris Synagogue, now restored as the Jewish Museum of Turkey. In the afternoon, we'll explore the 17th century Etz Ahayim (Tree of Life) Synagogue, also known as the Ortakoy Synagogue (the district in which it is located), which was tragically destroyed by fire in 1941. Today only the marble Aron Kodesh remains intact (within a lovely garden overlooking the sea) . Overnight in Istanbul. (B, D)
Neve Shalom Synagogue
Day 4: Oct. 18, 2012, Thursday Istanbul Bursa B,D
This morning we take to the road for a guided tour to Bursa, the first capital of the Ottoman Empire, built in the fourteenth
century. We’ll enjoy seeing the Gerush Synagogue and then the Bursa Grand Mosque, both the largest mosque in Bursa and one
of the most striking examples of Ottoman art. Overnight in Bursa. (B, D)
Day 5: Oct. 19, 2012, Friday (and Shabbat evening) Bursa & Izmir B,L
Today we drive southwest to Akhisar ("White Castle"), site of ruins of the ancient Turkish city of Thyatira. In early Christian times, Thyateira was home to a significant Christian church and may have been visited by the apostles. We'll continue to Sardis, in ancient times the capital of the kingdom of Lydia and one of the most important cities of the Persian Empire. It was conquered by Alexander in 334 BCE, growing considerably prosperous during Hellenistic and Roman rule. We'll visit the Temple of Artemis, Roman Stadium, Roman baths, theatre and one of the world’s oldest synagogues, Sardis Synagogue, dating from the 3rd century BCE when King Antiochus III encouraged Jews from Babylonia and other nations to move to Sardis. Excavations of this site since 1958 have unearthed arguably the most impressive synagogue from antiquity in the Western Diaspora, with Greek and Hebrew inscriptions as well as mosaic floors. After this striking site, we'll drive to Izmir, home to an ancient and deeply historic Jewish community dating to the 2nd century CE when Greeks renamed the city Smyrna. Witness to centuries of Jewish life, this city will be a highlight of our tour. We will settle into our hotel by late afternoon. Tonight we have the possibility of Kabbalat Shabbat at the 200 year-old Seniyora Synagogue, most active of the remaining synagogues on Havra Street, Izmir's "Street of Synagogues.” The Seniyora is only a 20-minute walk from our hotel. Overnight in Izmir. (B, D)
Day 6: Oct. 20, 2012, Saturday Izmir (Shabbat Walking Day) B,D
This Shabbat morning is free for you to walk along the Street of Synagogues on your own. Home to nine synagogues, three are in use still today. If you desire,
visit the Kadosh Mizrahi Synagogue and Shalom (Aydin) Synagogue (Both are open only on Saturday mornings.) near the Seniyora Synagogue. This afternoon
we'll take a guided walking tour to Karatas, a 25-minute walk, and the location of Beth Israel Synagogue the city's largest as well as Beth Shalom Social Club
Karatas Hospital, owned and actively operated by the Jewish foundation here. We'll visit the Asansor (approximate 30-min. walk), a 19th-century incline railway &
that was created to lift passengers up the sheer rock cliffs to the residential district above. From the top of the funicular, one experiences an exquisite bird's-eye
view of the city and the bay. Inscriptions above the railway door are in both French and Hebrew. We have the possibility of meeting with the Asansör, President
of the Izmir Jewish Community Center in the late afternoon, depending on his schedule. Overnight in Izmir. (B, D)
Day 7: Oct. 21, 2012,Sunday Izmir & Ephesus & Pamukkale B,D
Today's full-day excursion includes Ephesus, one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites and the largest ancient city ever unearthed, once home to a population of some 300,000. One of the main centers of early Christianity and home to apostles, it became an important site of pilgrimage throughout the Middle Ages. Ephesus' enormous amphitheater still can hold 24,000 spectators. Walking the marble-covered streets, we'll view gymnasiums, baths houses, temples, and the breathtaking two-tiered Library of Celsius, erected in 110 CE. The reading room was destroyed by fire during the 3rd century, but the monument façade did not suffer damage. It has been restored and open to the public since the 1970's. Afterward, we continue our drive to Pamukkale, location of astonishingly beautiful sparkling white terraced hot springs formations. Overnight in Pamukkale. (B, D)
Library at Ephesus
Wading Pools of Pamukkale
Day 8: Oct. 22, 2012, Monday Pamukkale & Cappadocia B,D
Pamukkale is Turkey's foremost natural mineral-bath spa, thanks to its hot calcium-rich springs cascading over a cliff. As they cool, they form dramatic brilliantly white calcium limestone formations and magnificent mineral pools. Visitors come here to soak or wade in the healing waters that have soothed the ailments of residents and visitors for more than 2,000 years. This city too was home to a significant Jewish community, mentioned by Paul in his Letter to Colossians. Our tour includes a visit to Hierapolis ("Sacred City"), a 2nd century BCE UNESCO World Heritage Site believed by its ancient population to have been founded by the god Apollo. The ancient Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis sat on top of hot springs its great baths, library, and gymnasium constructed with huge stone blocks without cement. From here we drive to Cappadocia. Overnight in Cappadocia. (B, D)
Day 9: Oct. 23, 2012, Tuesday Cappadocia B,D
Today begins with a visit to the fascinating Cappadocia town of Goreme and the Goreme Valley. The lunar-like landscape of this region is eerie, yet exquisite. Over thousands of years, rain has eroded this landscape to give rise to strange rock formations known as “Fairy Chimneys.” Many homes and churches have been carved into these formations, some grottos magnificently decorated with colorful frescoes depicting biblical scenes. The modern city is home to a population of some 2,500. This region is known for its carpet-making shops, and we'll visit a local carpet cooperation, a carpet "farm" of sorts. This afternoon we'll tour the hidden "Monk's Valley" of Pasabagi, just outside Goreme, with its many astonishing carved rock houses, hermit shelters, and chapels in which residents and visitors have lived and prayed for centuries. Overnight in Cappadocia. (B, D)
Day 10: Oct 24, 2012, Wednesday Cappadocia B,D
Following breakfast we'll explore the Underground City of Kaymakli, with its houses constructed underground. In about the 6th century, the Christian inhabitants of this region began to tunnel into the soft volcanic rock of these large hills. The subterranean city that they created is some 275 feet deep with eight distinct levels that housed several thousand residents and, astonishingly, a church, wine or oil press, kitchens, and copper mine. Next stops are the old Greek town of Mustafapasa (Sinasos), with its spectacular old Greek houses and Castle of Ortahisar. After testing the local wine, we’ll visit a local family to learn about the region's culture while enjoying Turkish tea and Baklava. Next, we'll visit a historic and typical Turkish village, Avanos, renowned for its production of earthenware pottery. Here we'll see techniques of ceramic art dating from the 12th to 3rd centuries BCE. Overnight in Cappadocia. (B, D)
Hot Air Balooons at
Day 11: Oct. 25, 2012, Thursday Cappadocia Fly to Istanbul, Free afternoon, B, D
This morning we fly back to Istanbul. The afternoon is free to explore Istanbul on your own or for optional activities
that can be arranged for you at the hotel. (costs not included) Overnight in Istanbul. (B, D)
Day 12: Oct. 26, 2012, Friday (and Shabbat Evening) Istanbul B,L
We'll spend the morning at the magnificent Topkapi Palace, once home to the great Sultans of Turkey and filled with treasures and antiquities that include 12,000 pieces of fine Chinese porcelain. This is home to the unique Blue Mosque, the interior walls of which are covered with 20,000 blue Iznik tiles. We'll see the Hippodrome and the spectacular domed Basilica of St. Sophia first a cathedral constructed in 326 by Constantine the Great, then a mosque, now a museum the beauty of which has inspired architects and spiritual seekers for more than 1,500 years. We will return to our hotel by 4 pm to observe Shabbat, either attending a nearby synagogue for Kabbalat Shabbat, or sharing a Kabbalat service together in our hotel. Overnight in Istanbul. (B, L)
Topkapi Palace at Istanbul
Day 13: Oct. 27, 2012, Saturday (Shabbat Free Day) Istanbul B,D / Farewell Group Dinner
Observe Shabbat - Free day in Istanbul. Join a local synagogue for Shabbat services or enjoy sightseeing around your hotel or the city.
[Optional activities can be arranged for you, costs not included in tour price, perhaps sightseeing or shopping at the Grand Bazaar, the largest
and oldest covered market in the world or a boat ride on the Bosphorus River or many other sightseeing possibilities.] Overnight in Istanbul. (B, D)
Day 14: Oct. 28, 2012 Sunday Return Flight, B
After a farewell breakfast, transfer to Ataturk Airport for your flight home. (B)
Grand Bazaar, Istanbul
Deluxe Luxury Accommodations
In Beautiful 4-Star Boutique Hotels
Composer-lyricist and concert artist as well as writer, keynote speaker and educator, Joy Katzen-Guthrie is devoted to uplifting, empowering, and inspiring through the arts and cultural studies. A Memphis, Tennessee native who has made her home in the Tampa Bay area since 1981, Joy has created and served as scholar-in-residence for six Jewish heritage tours throughout China and has developed heritage tours to Argentina, Australia/New Zealand, and Alaska. She is a lecturer and instructor for Eckerd College and the University of South Florida Osher Institutes in the Tampa Bay Area, Eckerd College Road Scholar Programs and numerous learning series. Additionally, she melds a performance repertoire of some 4,000 songs with a vast knowledge of musical history in congregation, classroom, concert hall, and in 14 published recordings. With her husband Mark, Joy operates a professional recording studio, Tune-of-the-Century Music®, as well as sound design services for a roster of broadcast facilities, congregations, organizations, and individuals. She is a contributing writer to the Encylopedia Judaica, and her photographs of China have been published worldwide. She has also received appointments to the Florida Artist Residency Directory, funded by the State Division of Cultural Affairs, and has been awarded two arts resource fund performance arts grants from the Pinellas County Arts Council. Following studies at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri with BA and BFA Degrees magna cum laude and cum laude in Broadcast Communications and Music, she served Tampa Bay's WPLP/News-Talk Radio as Executive Producer and Operations Manager. Her extensive website, www.joyfulnoise.net, is her own design and creation and she loves sharing her knowledge and appreciation of music culture and history, world faith traditions, Judaism, women's studies, and creative expression through her performances, recordings, classes, workshops, and lectures.
Tour Cost PP: $3,199.00 if paid by check - credit card payments add 4%
based on a minimum of 12 travelers in shared accommodations
Single Supplement: $720.00
$500 deposit required to reserve your space, Reservation deadline August 10, 2012
Later reservations accepted subject to flight and hotel availability
This tour IS proceeding - contact us IMMEDIATELY if you would like to join us!
Tour Cost Includes:
All transfers per program itinerary
12 Nights accommodation boutique hotels or 4* class
Domestic Flights from Kayseri to Istanbul in economy class
(Domestic flight costs subject to change until booked and paid for)
Meals as specified in the day by day itinerary.
Welcome dinner / Farewell dinner
Transportation by modern, Air-Conditioned Midi-bus
Baggage Handling at the hotels
English Speaking Professional Tour Guide and Scholar-In-Residence ( Spiritual and history specialist )
All entrances Fees per itinerary
All applicable Taxes
Tour Cost Excludes:
Visa fees - $20.00 PP upon arrival in Istanbul
Trip cancellation / emergency medical insurance
International flight to Istanbul
Customary tips for guide ($8 a day) and driver ($5 a day)
Any extras at the hotels such as laundry, drinks , phone calls.
Any meals or activities not mentioned in the day by day itinerary