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15 minutes to Hagia Sophia, Sultan Ahmet, Grand Bazaar Description Balat is another of the Istanbul quarters in which Jews were settled after their expulsion from Spain, enlarging a community which had lived here since Byzantine times. Today Balat is a working-class district on the shores of the Golden Horn. Though it once had as many as nineteen synagogues, only two of importance remain, the famous Ahrida, and the neighboring Yanbol. The site of a Jewish school is close by, and Or Ahayim Jewish Hospital is several hundred meters to the northwest, within walking distance. Remember to make arrangements in advance with the Chief Rabbinate to visit these sites. Also in this district are the cast-iron Bulgarian Orthodox church of St. Stephen of the Bulgars, the Kariye Museum (Chora Church with Byzantine mosaics), the massive city walls, and the ruins of the Byzantinepalace known as Tekfur Saray. GETTING THERE Balat is on the southern shore of the Golden Horn, between the Atatürk and Fatih bridges. If you plan to visit the Kariye Museum with its 14th-century Byzantine mosaics, and the nearby Tekfur SarayByzantine palace, you may want to visit these places first, then walk one kilometer downhill to the Ahrida and Yanbol synagogues. Here are walking directions: facing the front door of the Kariye Museum, go to your left around the building on Kariye Türbesi Sokak and downhill to Sultan Çesme Caddesi, where you turn left. Follow Sultan Çesme Caddesi downhill; it changes names to become Kürkçü Çesmesi Sokak, and continues to the base of the slope, where it becomes Vodina Caddesi. Just past the intersection with Haci Isa Mektebi Sokak, on the right (south) side of Vodina Caddesi, is the Ahrida Synagogue.