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Istanbul Life Jewish Heritage Tours - Senguler Travel
Ranked #122 of 407 Tours in Istanbul
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: We are doing Jewish Heritage Tours since 2007.and we are ready to help you.We have more than one tour options about Jewish Heritage Tour .Our agency is recommended in TripAdvisor by our clients
New York City, New York
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Jewish Istanbul”
Reviewed 6 January 2014

We had a great time with Alp and his driver
We visited a number of Synagogues and felt that there is no way we could have coordinated our day,without local professional help
Alp was friendly and knowledgable. We were very happy with all aspects of this agency

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank rmb608
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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97 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Jewish Heritage Tour”
Reviewed 19 November 2013

We just came back from a wonderful trip to Istanbul. One of the highlights was our Jewish Heritage Tour with Alp. It was a fascinating few hours, and Alp was so knowledgeable and congenial. We also saw the (real) Whirling Dervishes that evening at a local monastery, which was a unique experience. Hakan and Alp were reliable, organized and thoughtful.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Kay B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Delray Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Jewish Tour”
Reviewed 11 November 2013

We had a very good tour. It was shorter than we had expected because we didn't go to one of the synagogues but rather one additional one closer to the center of town. Tour guide was very knowledgeable and not Jewish. A friend had used this company before and had a very poor guide, so we made sure to request someone else. Tour was rather pricey, but they do make donations to each synagogue and rather nice donations...so that is part of what you are paying.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
Thank LHDelray
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tenafly, New Jersey
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Very disappointed”
Reviewed 5 November 2013

I had a great time in Istanbul unfortunately, the low point of our trip was our tour with Istanbul Jewish Heritage Tours. As others have mentioned our guide was not very well informed about Jewish Life and appeared to make up a lot of the information or simply repeat what he read in guide book.

The good part is we had a driver and someone to make sure we didn't get lost. One of the synagogues, an interesting Sephardic one, Ahidra was in neighborhood we would never have visited on our own and was locked so we needed a guide to access.

You can simply visit the Jewish museum on your own. The museum is the Zülfaris Synagogue, and no guide is needed. From there you can also visit the Galata Tower. Overall, this is a safe neighborhood especially during the day time.

We found Istanbul Jewish Heritage Tours by searching online and saw their TripAdvisor reviews and thought wow this will be great! I'm not very sophisticated when comes to using TripAdvisor, but when I went back and looked at the reviews I noticed many of the reviewers had only 1 or 2 reviews which should've made me a little suspect.

I would not recommend due to the cost and general poor knowledge of the guide.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
4 Thank Rebecca C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Baysa, Owner at Istanbul Life Jewish Heritage Tours - Senguler Travel, responded to this review, 11 November 2013
Hi.. This Review is posted to a wrong location bcs our agency did not make a tour in the beginning of Aug. with a name of Rebeca C.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boulder, CO
Level Contributor
43 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
“Manage your expectations”
Reviewed 27 October 2013

Set your expectations low and you should be fine. I used several of Hakan Hacibekiroglu services including airport transfers to/from hotel and 1/2 day Jewish Heritage Tour.

Regarding the hotel transfers i experienced minor problems with both the airport pick-up and return drop-off. For the pick-up, driver was not there when I landed. Flight was about 30 minutes early. I had to borrow cell phone from a stranger and call Hakan. He did answer and driver, who spoke zero English, arrived about 15 minutes later. On return, I was staying in Sultan Ahmet area which is very difficult to navigate for taxis/cars, driver was about 10 minutes late, but tried to charge extra 10 Euros and dropped me opposite (read wrong) end of terminal. Overall left a bit of a bad taste.

Review of Jewish Heritage Tour is marginally better. My tour guide was not Jewish and his knowledge appeared to be strictly what he had read from basic guidebooks. He knew nothing about the karate community and made several comments that were untrue. What was strangest was first synagogue visited where a "service" was going on. I put "service" in quotes because it was obviously staged for the two groups of tourist. All of the alleged congregants were wearing the white kippahs that are available in the box when you walk in. That struck us odd for such pious, who would typically have their own tallis and kippah. In addition, once the 15 minute service ended, the "congregants" left as if shot from a cannon, not one came over and asked where any of us were from. Seemed very strange but you can decide for yourself. To us it seemed as if the service was staged. The visit to see the buildings, we saw 3 synagogues was interesting. One is a museum and easy to arrange on your own. The museum is housed in the ornate 19th-century Zullfaris synagogue near the Galata Bridge,

We also visited a spice market. There were 3 people in our party. I had been to Turkey 2 times before and encountered some aggressive shopkeepers in the Spice Market and Grand Bazzar. On the trip the ONLY aggressive shopkeeper I encountered was the one who our tour guide said was a friend. The shopkeeper was shoving spices in our face and generally pushy. :-(

I had posted a similar review about a month a ago and it mysteriously disappeared. Very strange.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank TravelBoulder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Alpbaysa, Manager at Istanbul Life Jewish Heritage Tours - Senguler Travel, responded to this review, 30 October 2013
First of all.. This review is NOT written with sincere feelings.. Here this guest is mentioning that the morning Service in the Ashkenazi Synagogue was a show that is arranged by us.. How is that possible ? Can a Synagogue hired like that and people is gathered for payer as a show like that ?
This doesn't have any logic... In this Synagogue every morning and evening there is a service and people come there to worship. The guests are fortunate to participate in it.. It is an experience.

Also he mentions that our guides doesn't know anything about " Karate " community.. I think he ment about the " Karaite" community, a tribe from the Mongol Tribes...

We try to give the best service to our guests as much as we can.. Little problems may happen but we always compensate with our guest.. Also this guest has no name details and we don't know who he/she is.. This review is just just written to blackmail us..

Thanks.

Hakan
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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