Although today Turkish Jews are overwhelmingly concentrated in Istanbul, in ancient times Jewish communities could be found all over what was then called Asia Minor. Evidence of one such community comes in the form of ruins of a synagogue, thought to have been built in the 7th century CE, that were recently uncovered in the southwest Turkish city of Side. David I. Klein writes:
Among the remains was a plaque with a menorah motif and an inscription in Hebrew and Greek stating that it was donated by a father in honor of a son who passed away at a young age. The plaque ends with the Hebrew word shalom. The town was home to Jews for centuries, but until this discovery there was little evidence of Jewish life there beyond a few records from the late Byzantine period.
Though today Side is a popular destination for Russian and European tourists, in ancient times it was an important Mediterranean port city, adopting Greek culture after its conquest by Alexander the Great in 333 BCE. It maintained a Greek identity until it was abandoned in the 12th century after the conquest of Anatolia by the Seljuk Turks.