The Four Sephardic Synagogues are located in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. They form a complex which comprises four adjoining synagogues which were built at different periods to accommodate the religious needs of the Sephardic community, each congregation practising a different rite.
With the closing of the Ramban Synagogue at the command of the Ottoman sultan in 1589, there ceased to be a Jewish house of prayer in Jerusalem and the Jews, many of whom were descendants of immigrants who had arrived after the expulsion from Spain in 1492, were forced to pray privately in their own homes. At the beginning of the 17th century a new synagogue, the Yochanan ben Zakai Synagogue, was inaugurated.
In 1835 Muhammad Ali, viceroy of Egypt who ruled Jerusalem at the time, permitted the refurbishment of the synagogues which had been denied since their construction. At the entrance to the Istanbuli Synagogue is a plaque commemorating the restoration.
After the fall of the Jewish Quarter during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War the synagogues were burnt and desecrated and turned into horse stables. After the Six Day War the synagogues were restored by architect Dan Tanai.