Jewish existence in Izmir (once known as Smyrna) goes back to the Hellenistic and Roman times.
From those considerably important communities, however, almost nothing has reached recent centuries. The authentic remains of the tangible and the intercultural influences of the intangible heritage show the dominance of the Sephardic Jewish life in Izmir, significantly. Therefore, Jewish heritage of Izmir exhibits a unique character with its Sephardic cultural traditions of religion and worship, along with the architectural styles of the synagogues that existed in medieval Spain.
Few of the many magnificent synagogues built in Izmir in previous centuries have survived to this day. Ten of these are located around the old city center (Old Juderia) and two are in the Karatas district (New Juderia).
Some preserved, some in ruins but, these synagogues together with the cortejos and the cemeteries, constitute a living testimony to community’s life in Izmir, reputed as one of the most spectacular of its kind and had the most spiritual and cultural influence on all Jewish diaspora communities in the 17th and 18th centuries.