Ahrida Synagogue Istanbul
It was rebuilt in 1694 after a sustaining damage from a fire and an internal dome was added although it was not visible from the outside as at that time minority populations were forbidden to build domes. The prayer platform (bema) is in the shape of the bow of a ship that represents the vessel that transported the Jews from Spain to Balat , although some believe it to symbolise Noah’s Ark.
The synagogue once had a congregation of 500 worshippers and it was here in 1666 that Sabbetai Tsvi from Smyrna ( modern Izmir ), who was a self-proclaimed Jewish Messiah, announced his faith that went on to create a religious division that still continues today. The building was restored in 1992 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Jews arriving in Turkey and the synagogue is still in use today.
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