The Ashkenazi Synagogue is currently the only active synagogue of Ashkenazi Jews. It was founded in 1900 by Ashkenazim, an Austrian with Ashkenazi origin, near the Galata Tower.
Its architectural style and European façade distinguish it from the traditional Sephardic and Romaniote synagogues.
If you walk down from Galata Tower via the steep Yüksekkaldırım Street towards Galata Bridge, you will see the imposing building with the octagonal star rosette of the Ashkenazi Synagogue on the left, half hidden behind electrical and locksmith shops.
The synagogue, which can accommodate about 400 people, was commissioned by Austrian Jews. Its architect is Gabriel Tedeschi. In 1900, the Austrian Jewish community of Istanbul officially opened the Ashkenazi synagogue in the presence of the Austro-Hungarian ambassador. The style of this magnificent building, which creates a confusing contrast to the rather shabby surroundings, is oriental-eclectic: the Teva (prayer pulpit and lectern) designed by the sculptor Fogel and the ebony Torah cabinet are reminiscent of a Far Eastern pagoda. Other distinguishing features are the Polish “Ehal”, the cabinet in which a copy of the handwritten Old Testament is kept.
Today, the Ashkenazi Synagogue is the only Ashkenazi synagogue in Istanbul where regular religious services are held.