Dear Fellow Travellers,

The Izmir project is a unique cluster of 9 Synagogues that still remain from 38 that once existed since the 1492 Spanish expulsion. The architectural style still prevails dating back to the 16th century and our trip enables you to absorb, experience this Ladino Jewdeo-Spanish history and culture through the sites and people during The Sephardic Music festival.

Join us for a unique trip to celebrate Chanukah and the Sephardic Music festival with the surrounding treasures of this part of Turkey that includes ancient Greek, Roman heritage sites together with Jewish ruins and a stunning wine route where we will be enjoying wine tastings.

Places are limited and to reserve your place we need £250 per person deposit with the booking form completed and returned to our Edgware office or you can call me and I will take all details needed. Do not book flights till we confirm trip is proceeding and we will then tell you which flights to book

Sephardic Culture of Izmir
Tuesday 24th to 31st December 2019                                                                          

DAY 1 / Tuesday, Dec 24, 2019

Arrival to Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport. Meet your guide at the airport and transfer to your hotel in downtown Izmir. 

Depending on the arrival time half day tour of the city.

Welcome dinner at a local restaurant.  (D) Second night Chanukah candle lighting

DAY 2 / Wednesday, Dec 25, 2019

Full day tour to ancient Ephesus. The tour includes visits to the ancient city of Ephesus, the Archaeological Museum of Ephesus and the nearby mountain village of Sirince.


Dinner at hotel. (B/L/D) 3rd night Chanukah candle lighting

DAY 3 / Thursday, Dec 26, 2019

Half day tour to Urla Wine Trail, one of the premier wine production spots in Turkey. The tour includes visits to vineyards and wine tasting.

Opening events of the Sephardic Cultural Festival. (TBA)

Dinner on your own (Free time) (B/L) 4th night Chanukah candle lighting

DAY 4 / Friday, December 27, 2019 

Optional walk to Sephardic Culture Festival events (TBA) 

Tour of Synagogues of Izmir, ancient Agora of Symrna and Konak area.

5th night Chanukah candle lighting followed by Kabbalat Shabbat in Synagogue

Lunch at a local restaurant. Dinner at hotel. (B/L/D)

DAY 5 / Saturday, December 28, 2019

Free day. Synagogue for morning prayers for those who wish - Lunch and dinner at the hotel. 

Optional walk to Sephardic Culture Festival events (TBA) (B/L/D)

6th night Chanukah candle lighting after Havdalah service

DAY 6 / Sunday, December 29, 2019 

Sephardic Culture Festival events (TBA) 

Lunch & dinner on your own.  (B)

7th night Chanukah candle lighting

DAY 7 / Monday, December 30, 2019

Full day tour of ancient Lydian capital city of Sardis. The tour includes visits to the ruins of a Roman period synagogue and the ancient temple of Artemis.

Dinner at the hotel.  (B/L/D) Final night Chanukah candle lighting

DAY 8 / Tuesday, December 31, 2019 

Departure transfer to Izmir airport. (B)













(total 5 dinners, 5 lunches) Food will be vegetarian with permissable fish options predominating 

Not included:

Tour of Synagogues of Izmir - included

Our discovery of Jewish Heritage of Izmir will begin following a brief walk at the old Jewish Quarter of Smyrna along the Anafartalar street, where some of the cortijos (Jewish family homes) were located, we will continue our tour to Hevra Street.

Hevra Street is where most of the Izmir Synagogues are located within Kemeralti markets area. Our starts at Bikur Holim Synagogue, and we continue visiting Algazi, Signora, and Shalom Synagogues. We will walk along the streets of the market, as we immerse ourselves in the local commercial life which intertwines with the Jewish population of Izmir.

Izmir, the ancient Symrna, is the only city in the world in which an unusual cluster of synagogues, bearing a typical architectural style dating from the 16th century is preserved. Some of these synagogues are located adjacent to each other and create a unique historical architectural complex, unknown even to world Jewry. These synagogues constitute a living testimony to the history of the Jewish community in Izmir, which was once a spiritual Jewish-center. Following the expulsion of Jews from Spain and Portugal in 1492, some of the refugees’ descendants came to Izmir and brought with them the Sephardic Jewish heritage, the Ladino (Judeo-Spanishlanguage), and the Sephardic traditions of religion and worship, which is expressed in their Synagogues. Out of 34 magnificent synagogues built in an authentic local architectural style in between 16th and 20th centuries, only 9 remain today around the Kemeralti market area in the old city of Izmir. 

After a short ride along the shores of gulf of Izmir, we will reach at Asansör, an elevator built by Nesim Levi in the former Jewish neighborhood called Karatas. We will enjoy the view of the city and a strool along cobbled stone street and historical wooden houses in the neighborhood of Dario Moreno, a renowned singer of the city with an amazing story. We will finish our tour at Beth Israel Synagogue.

Tour of Izmir Konak Area - included

Our discovery of downtown Izmir will begin at the ancient city center, the Agora of ancient Smyrna. Ruins date back to 2nd c AD to the Roman period. We will then continue to the historical bazaar quarter, the Kemeralti area, winding through the maze of streets of shops of traditional Turkish handcrafts, a mosaic of holy sites, fountains and caravanserai (inns). Kemeralti is the oldest commercial district of the city.

We will visit Kizlaragasi Caravanserai built in 1744, which is a rare work of Ottoman architecture, where we will discuss the creation of this space by the Ottomans, and its current life. After visiting some of the better, more authentic vendors, we'll stop for Turkish coffee before setting you loose to explore on your own. We will stroll down towards the harbor and reach to Konak Square, the official center of the city, a lively spot throughout the day where we will resume the history of the city and view the monuments such as the Clock Tower, the Yali Mosque decorated with tiles and the historical Governor’s Office. 

A day at UNESCO World Heritage Site: Ephesus and Sirince - included

Ephesus, representing many cultures of bygone eras, is the most famous of the cities of Asia Minor. It established and developed governmental and economic systems and played a major part in the growth of various branches of the fine arts. It was once the commercial center of the ancient world. The city, whose wealth and patronage supported its splendid architectural program, was dedicated to the goddess Artemis. Ephesus with its port commanded the west end of one great trade route into Asia and had easy access to the other two. 

Sirince, is an old Greek Orthodox village, 12 km away from Ephesus and was once called Cirkince ("ugly"). Indeed its habitants gave this name on purpose as they did not want to be bothered by foreigners nor to share the beauty of their village. Still after years, visitors understood that the village was not ugly at all and called it Sirince ("pretty"). As the village is located on the top of a mountain, anyone will enjoy the impressive wine yards' and peach trees' views on his way.

Today the village is a perfect synthesis of Turk-Greek culture as of the 1920's: after the Independence War, population exchange between Greece and Turkey has occurred and all those typical Greek houses, though they kept their original outside characteristics, have received the local layout inside. The most beautiful specimens are open to visitors. And even in the courtyard of one of them, one will discover a nicely restorated Orthodox church.

All the narrow streets of the village belong to the women, selling handcrafts of all kinds, olive oil. Another attraction of Sirince is its wine: try its taste in small cafés or in the former municipal school restorated.

Urla Wine Trail: Wine tasting and visiting Urla Wineries - included

peaceful town by the crystal clear waters of the AegeanUrla is one of the premier wine production spots in Turkey with its pioneer wine producers. 

Urla’s claim as a viticultural destination started with the establishment of Urlice Vineyards in 2006. Quickly followed by Urla Wines who complemented its efforts of reviving ancient grapes Gaydura and Urla Karası (Noir d’Urla) with the latest technological advancements in winemaking, Urla regained its historical reputation in the world of wine-making. 

Another ancient grape of the region Foça Karası (Noir de Phokai) is grown and bottled by USCA Wines with its ‘’Sonnet’’ label, MMG Wines “Şatomet’’ label with its dry Muscat of Bornova and Mosaic Wines with its new hybrid grapes and numerous prizes won at international competitions are attracting considerable interest to the area. Today in Urla, more then 150 hectares are devoted to vineyards. Wines of Urla are finding leading positions as `Turkey’s best` in various evaluations and competitions. With new wineries such as Limantepe and Urla Bağevi, Urla is soon to be the a leading Wine Destination of Turkey. 

We will be visiting Urla’s local wineries including Urla WineriesUrlice VineyardUSCA and MMG and taste the regional wines of local produce. 

Ancient Sardis – Temple of Artemis – included

Early departure from the hotel after breakfast and visit Sardis, which was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia. One of the most important cities under the Roman Empire, and the metropolis of province Lydia in a Late Roman and Byzantine. Since 1958, both Harvard and Cornell have sponsored annual archeological expeditions to Sardis. These excavations have unearthed perhaps the most impressive Synagogue in the western diaspora yet discovered from antiquity yielding over eighty Greek and seven Hebrew inscription as well as numerous mosaic floors. The synagogue was part of large bath-gymnasium complex, which was used for about 450 to 500 years. 

The Temple of Artemis in Sardis was the fourth largest Ionic temple in the world. Originally built in 300 BC by the ancient Greeks, the temple was renovated by the Romans in the 2nd century AD. During the Roman period it served also as a temple of the imperial cult.

This trip is reserved for Jewish Renaissance subscribers – £29 per annum subscription