Hidden Churches of Istanbul
Istanbul is one of the most visited historical city having many UNESCO jewels scattered around the city. Few historical places are hidden and unknown among these jewels. This particular guide will give you a list of hidden churches which not only have strong historical significance but they are also splendid architectural jewel.
1. Crimean Memorial Church
Located in the lush greenary in the district of Galata is Crimean Memorial Church. Crimean church, also known as Christ Church, belongs to Church of England. Between 1858 and 1868, British monarchy built the church in memory of the British solider who participated in Crimean War. Due to lack congregration it was closed in 1978 and reopened again in 1991. You can also take a walk around small garden where you will find geese, turtles and few stray cats.
2. Surp Krikor Lusavorich Church
This Armenian church was build in 1360. Fire burnt the church two times before being renovated and reopened twice in 1733 and 1799 respectively. Next to this church is an Armenian minority high school operating since 1886 with the sponsorship of the Archbishop Nerses Varjabetyan teaching Turkish and Armenian language.
3. Church of St. Mary of the Mongols
This church is known for its rose-coloured exterior which was built in 1282 by Princess Maria Palaiologina, the illegitimate daughter of Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos. After the death of his husband Hulagu Khan, she returned to Istanbul and became nun. This is the only church which was not under Ottoman decree.
4. Aya Yorgi Monastery
It is located at the top point of Buyukada in Princess Islands. This church was build in 1751 and is one of the most visited sights with a spectacular view. Every year on April 23rd, there is fertility ritual and thousands of pilgrims from all faith. Usually visitors come from Turkey, Greece, the Balkans and Russia, unwind spools of thread from the union square to the church.
5. Bulgarian St. Stephen Church
This church is famous because of its cast iron exterior. It is also known as the Bulgarian Iron Church and belonged to Bulgarian minority. They used it till 19th century. It has a splendid view of Golden Horn.
6. Surp Vortvots Vorodman Church
A church which became associated with Armenian community after the conquest of Istanbul. It went through lot of renovations and has been a patriarchal church since 1641. The church has a significance place becuase of association of Patriarchate of Jerusalem. It was significant centre of all religous activities.
7. Sakizagaci Surp Asdvazazin Church
The Sakizagaci Surp Asdvazazin Church is located in Besiktas, Istanbul. It is an Armenian church that was built in 1866. The altars of the church is great with ornamented columns devoted to Virgin Mary.
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8. The Fener Greek Patriarchate & Hagia Yorgi
It is located in Fener, Golden Horn, Istanbul and also the Greek Orthdox Patriarchate. The church is famous as it dates back to 5th century.