Istanbul, A street in Balat
Balat used to be the first Jewish neighborhood of Istanbul
established long before the Jews expelled from Spain were allowed
by the Ottomans to settle in this area of the city; it still
has some old synagogues, most famous Ahrida Synagogue, which
dates from 1400; next to it the Yanbol Synagogue built also
by the Macedonian Jews who originally inhabited Balat.
The surviving non-religious buildings are today a Jewish school
which is closed and a 19th c. hospital with 120 beds still in
use, Ahayim Jewish hospital.
Balat has been lately abandoned by its once prosperous population.
As Istanbul Jews moved out to other areas in the city, the district
fell in disrepair and is now mostly inhabited by working class
migrants from the Black Sea region. In the photo you can see
a street in Balat, with business owners in front of their small
shop sitting for a small talk while waiting for customers.