You can find out our ultimate guide on the most beautiful and impressive churches in Istanbul to visit and relax. From the Fener Greek Patriarchate & St. George Church to Saint Antoine, the city has plenty to offer for culture and history lovers.
1. Fener Greek Patriarchate & St. George Church
The Fener Greek Patriarchate is the center of world Orthodoxy in Istanbul. It is located at the same court with the Hagia Haralambos Holy Spring, the library and the St. George (Aya Yorgi) Patriarchate Church. St. George (Aya Yorgi) Church, a small and modest church at the beginning of the 17th century, was expanded and renovated over time after the patriarchate settled here.
The temple, which was rebuilt in 1720 after the great Fener fire at the beginning of the 18th century, was established according to a basilica plan. The church showcases the stone column where the Prophet Jesus was tied and whipped, three sarcophagi with depictions of Euphemia, Solomone, and Teopano, and mosaic icons, as well as items considered sacred in the Christian world, such as the patriarchal throne and ceremonial cross from the Byzantine period.
The preacher lectern of the church, which is one of the cultural treasures of Istanbul, is decorated with Middle Eastern style wood inlays and Orthodox icons. Special permission is required to visit the Patriarchate and some of its structures.
2. Hagia Triada Greek Orthodox Church
The Hagia Triada Church, also known as Church of the Holy Trinity, is located in the Taksim neighborhoods, just by the entrance of the famous Istiklal Street. The church was built between 1876 and 1880, which is considered the heart of Istanbul. The church is considered one of the largest Orthodox architectural structures and churches in Istanbul.
The historical building, which is important for the Orthodox sect, is built on an area that was used as a Greek cemetery and Greek hospital in the past, but was later evacuated. Although the architect named Potessaro started the construction, the building was completed by Vassilaki Ionnidis.
The building had the distinction of being the first church built with a dome among the churches up to the time it was built. Sculptor Alexandros Krikelis produced marble works, while Sakellarios Megaklis painted and decorated the interior.
3. Saint Antoine Catholic Church
Saint Antoine Catholic Church, also known as St. Anthony of Padua or Sant’Antonio di Padova, is one of the most impressive historical churches in Istanbul. Located on the famous Istiklal Street, the church has the distinction of being the largest Roman Catholic Church in the city. Being one of the Catholic churches of the Franciscans, St. Antuan is the last of the churches built in Europe to represent the apostles of Jesus Christ. It was built to serve the Italian community living in Istanbul.
St. Anthony’s Church attracts its visitors with a secret motive with its monumental architecture and silence. Built by an architect named Mongeri, this temple in the Italian gothic style attracts a lot of attention from tourists especially because of its icons adorning its showcases, impressive stained glass and its doors being open to visitors all day long.
The church is an important religious haunt around the world. In addition, Luigi Bresciani’s gilded wooden statue of St.Anthony, as well as many art works are a must see. The church has a very important place in the Catholic world and in 2003 Pope XXIII. John also preached in this church during his visit to Istanbul.
4. Bulgarian Iron Church
Istanbul indeed has no lack of Chapel, and the Bulgarian Church of St. Stephen, nestled along the Golden Horn, appears to blend in with its similar sacred places when you look at first. On closer study, though, this cross-shaped basilica is unlike any other in the world.
5. Saint Pierre Church
The Saint Pierre Church is worth seeing with its history dating back to 1700 years and its interesting architecture. It was built by the Architect Fossati Brothers, who worked for the restoration of Hagia Sophia in the 1840s, and is accessed by passing through a small wooden door and a courtyard. The back wall of the church near the Galata Tower was built inside a part of the old Genoese walls of Galata.
6. Church of Our Lady of the Mongols (Bloody Church)
Also known as the “Mongolian Church” in history, “the Bloody Church” among the people, was built in the 13th century before the conquest of Istanbul. The church is the only Byzantine structure that still functions as a Greek Orthodox place of worship, as well as one of the unique churches in Istanbul The reason why it is called the “Bloody Church” is that the bloodiest clashes between the Turkish soldiers and the Byzantines, who entered through the Balat gate during the conquest of Istanbul, took place near this church.
Also the church was not converted into a mosque during the Ottoman period because of the “edict of Fatih Sultan Mehmet”, a copy of which is still in the church today. The church famous for its treasury Virgin Mary mosaics and icons, and took its name from the Byzantine princess Marie Paleologina, who returned to Byzantium after she was going to marry Mongolian Abaka Khan and had this church built on the site of the 10th century monastery.
7. Ayia Triada Church
Located in a beautiful and large garden in the Kadikoy district, at Bahariye, the Ayia Triada Church has a history of more than a hundred years. The historical church, built using white marble, opens its doors to its visitors only on Sundays for the morning ritual.