Portekiz Synagogue

Konak / İzmir

Portekiz Synagogue

You are at Portekiz (Portugal) Synagogue, which was the biggest synagogue in the city in 17th century. This is one of the six synagogues known to have existed in that period. Estimated founders are Portuguese descendant Jewish people who have migrated from Africa and Venice in 1569. This is the only synagogue in Izmir that is named after the origin of migration.

Many resources cite that Portekiz Synagogue lies at the centre of the events regarding Sabbatai Zevi. When Sabbatai Zevi returns to Izmir in 1665, this synagogue was the stronghold of anti-Sabbatean movement; with anti-Sabbatean movement getting stronger, synagogue closed its doors to him. Sabbatai and his followers broke the door and occupied the synagogue in response. During this raid, Sabbatai Zevi sang Meliselda song, declared himself Messiah, and 18 June 1666 as the date of redemption. Following this incident, Portugal Synagogue has become the centre of Sabbatean movement. People from all around the world were coming to Izmir to join the movement. When this uncontrollable situation was reported to Ottoman palace, Zevi was summoned to the palace to contain revolting potential in Izmir.

The synagogue includes an impressive gate made of marble columns and a pediment. Since its establishment, the synagogue was completely rebuilt a number of times after getting destroyed by earthquakes and fires. In 1903, Edmond de Rothschild donated 3000 Franks to Portugal Synagogue for restoration. Marble panel with Hebrew inscription located above the entrance door is dated 1909, and was placed there regarding this repairment.

In 1976 synagogue's roof and one of its walls was completely destroyed in a fire; currently restoration works financed by Aegean Young Businessmen Association are underway to revive the synagogue as Social and Cultural Activity Centre.

The history

The synagogue, which has a magnificent entrance built with marble columns and pediment, was completely destroyed and rebuilt several times as a result of earthquakes and fires. In 1903 Edmond de Rothschild donated 3000 francs to the Portuguese Synagogue for restoration. The 1909 Hebrew marble inscription on the entrance door of the synagogue is related to this repair.

Also, the synagogue, whose roof and one wall were completely destroyed due to the fire in 1976, is being revived as a Social and Cultural Activities Center with the restoration made by the Aegean Young Businessmen Association with the support of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality.


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