İzmir’s old Jewish neighborhood to turn into museum

An old Jewish neighborhood in the western province of İzmir, where some nine synagogues exist, will convert into an open museum, says the project's coordinator.

"The region inside the Historical Kemeraltı Bazaar will be a focus of interest of the city's faith and culture tourism," Nesim Bencoya, an expert from the İzmir Jewish Heritage Project, told Demirören News Agency on Oct. 18.

According to the expert, the area was home to some 30,000 Jewish citizens who migrated long ago.

The project has been conducted with funds and donations from the EU and the local metropolitan municipality.

"The whole place is a house of worship. We want to protect, restore and then open the region to tourism as an open museum," Bencoya stated.

On being asked the motive behind the project, the expert replied: "Nowadays, the grandchildren of those who migrated from İzmir come and visit the region. Most want to find the houses their grandparents grew up in or the graves they rest in."

Calling Kemeraltı a "special place," Bencoya pointed out that their next move will be to establish contact with international tourism agencies.

"We have to promote Kemeraltı with a loud voice to the world. A faith and cultural tourism wave to the region will make all the difference," he added.


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