Thursday, January 26, 2017


Karaköy, Beyoğlu - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°01'26.9"N 28°58'26.2"E / 41.024139, 28.973944

 photo schneider_tempel104.jpg


The Schneidertempel Art Center, situated in Galata, centrally located in one of Istanbul's oldest districts, aims to function as a bridge between the city's historical heritage and the contemporary art scene.

The Schneidertempel was established in Galata in the 19th century as one of several synagogues founded by the Ashkenazi community. With the approach of the 21st century, it has gained a new function as an art center under the auspices of the Galata Ashkenazi Cultural Association. Through this, an important part of historic Istanbul has been restored to life; a cultural tie has been able to reinvent itself in the face of inevitable change.

The Schneidertempel Art Center program will emphasize contemporary art. The Schneidertempel encompasses a historical significance both to Galata in particular and to Istanbul as a whole. It is hoped that the Schneidertempel, connecting its own relevance within its historical context to that of contemporary art, will open its doors to further forms of participation in the future.

The Schneidertempel was one among three synagogues established by the Ashkenazis in Galata. Known as "Beth ha Kenesseth Tofre Begadim," it was built by the Ashkenazi Tailors' Association in 1894 and called the "Tailors' Synagogue." Situated at the top of the Kamondo stairs above Bankalar Caddesi (the old Voyvoda Caddesi) between Banker Sokağı (formerly Kamondo Sokağı) and Felek Sokağı, the Schneidertempel served as a synagogue until the 1960s.

The building has entrances on both streets, the main one being on Felek Sokağı. In spite of being built on a less-than-adequate parcel of land, the Schneidertempel skillfully exemplifies Ashkenazi synagogue architecture. Facing two streets, the Schneidertempel is a typical example of 19th century eclectic architecture. The synagogue's main entrance on Felek Sokağı, with its adornments, offers the more impressive and engaging sight.

The name "Schneidertempel" is a German word for "tailor temple". The art gallery, formerly a synagogue established by the Ashkenazi Tailor Jews Association in 1894, is where the name comes from. The temple, one of the three synagogues in Galata district, served as a desolte depot before it became an art gallery.

In ancient Greek, ’syn’ means ’together’ and ’ago’ means ’to gather’. So ’synagogue’ is a place where ’people gathering in a place’. The synagogue was built by the tailors who migrated from Russia and East Europe, especially specialized on designing vests.

The temple, whose construction began with the approval of Sultan Abdülhamit II, wanting to reward the palace tailor, opened its doors for tailors to carry out the tenets of their faith. Besides the budget allocated by the palace, the tailors also accumulated resources amongst themselves.

After hosting the Jews for more than 60 years, Schneidertempel was left to its destiny by the same people who established the synagogue because they opened new temples and started using the tailor’s temple as a depot. Until the Jewish community thought they can turn the place into an art center.

Even though the synagogue is located in the middle of two apartment buildings, it is not different than the others. With its front construction and the raised ground floor, Schneidertempel has a simplistic interior design. There is a mosaic close to the ceiling, the Star of David, also known as the star of the Jews, made out of mosaics.

After a while the prayers stopped echoing in the temple with the changing preferences of profession among the community. For a while it was used as a headquarter for the Ashkenazi Tailor Jews Association.


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