Turkey’s Jewish Heritage Revisited: Architectural Conservation and the Politics of Memory

This research traces the histories of the Ahrida and Mayor Synagogues in Istanbul, and the Great Synagogue in Edirne against the background of interrelated questions on architecture, identity, memory/ history, power, and cultural difference. Established in the 15th, 17th and 19th centuries respectively, all three buildings were left idle when their neighborhoods were abandoned by Jews in the mid-20th century. Following the 1980s however - and after several decades of decay - they were selected from among Turkey's numerous crumbling synagogues to be the showcases of the country’s Jewish past. Having numerous times been ‘sites of memory' within their active lifetimes, they were again transformed into sites of memory by restoration projects under the forces of national and international politics, heritage industry, tourism, and others. This research considers the buildings as long-standing sites of power, difference, and negotiation, in which memories collided and histories were constructed. It discusses in comparative fashion how the buildings were instrumentalized for the representation of the past at different moments in Ottoman and Turkish history and critically examines the discourses and practices that surrounded their restoration projects in the post-1980s.

Satın Al


Kitabın Adı:

Turkey’s Jewish Heritage Revisited: Architectural Conservation and the Politics of Memory

Roysi Ojalvo Kamayor
Dizi Adı:

History: 223

Baskı Adedi:


Yayın Yılı:





13,5 x 21 cm.


Enzo 70 gr.


Çağlar Yalçın


250 gr. Mat, Amerikan Bristol, 4 renk






List of Tables

List of Figures


The Urban and Historical Context

Globalizing Istanbul: From Ruins to Cosmopolitan Heritage

Theoretical Bases

Architecture as Cultural Landscape

Constructions: Buildings, Identities, Histories

Architectures of History and Memory, Power and Contest

Research Aim and Methods of Data Collection

Research Aim

Literature Review

Observations and Interviews

The Case of the Ahrida Synagogue

A Synagogue: From Heartland, to Symbol

The Ahrida Synagogue as a Symbol of the 500th Year Celebrations

Writing History: Ahrida as “Typical Ottoman Architecture”

Memory versus History: “Is a Synagogue a Cinema or a Theater?”

Architectures of Exclusion

The Case of the Mayor Synagogue

Showcasing Cosmopolitanism

The Mayor Synagogue: From Ruin to Work of Art

Decisions and Indecisions of Conservation

Conservation as Debate: “Building a New Temple?”, or “Preserving a Living Space?”

Architectures of Negotiation

The Case of Edirne’s Great Synagogue

The Rise and Fall of ‘Tolerance’

The Reconstruction of ‘Tolerance’

Decision Withdrawn: Restoration as a Scene of Political Debate

The Opening: A Flood of Histories and Memories

Refugees, Countrymen and Vagrants: “Probable Criminals” and “Usual Suspects”

Architectures of Power


Historical Reflection, From the Sephardi Migration yo the Heritage Industry

Reconstructions of Ethnic Identity and History

From Memory to History and Back Again: Architectures of Ideals and Multitudes

Concluding Remarks