The neighborhood was established in the 15th century by Jews after the expulsion from Spain in 1492. At that time, the Queen Isabella and her husband, King Fernando II, expelled the Jews of Spain. Many of them settled in Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, and established new communities there.
Most of the houses that have been preserved since then were built in a similar fashion, with windows in a narrow front and three stories high. In the past, this neighborhood, with its rustic atmosphere, was a "Jewish neighborhood" in the city and one of the most important centers of the magnificent Jewish community of Turkey.
Naturally, after many Jews left for the State of Israel, a large non-Jewish population settled in their homes. Although the Jewish community hardly exists here, it is still possible to find various Jewish characteristics here, on a relatively small scale.
Among the Jewish sites here, you will find some souvenirs from the Jewish period of the neighborhood. Among them stands the Ahrida Synagogue, the ancient synagogue in the city that has been here for over 400 years. Not far from it is the Yanbol Synagogue. The last two are still active, out of 19 synagogues that operated here in the past.
Also in the neighborhood is the Jewish hospital, "Life," established here by Jewish doctors towards the end of the 19th century.
The name of the Balat neighborhood, on the banks of the Golden Horn, is probably from the ancient Greek word palation, which in Latin became a palatium, meaning a palace. It is ironic that today it is a modest neighborhood, some will say even poor. Although there are many historic buildings in it, but those who can, have already moved from it to more prestigious neighborhoods.