Churches and Synagogues in Istanbul

Istanbul has always been a heart of different cultures with its beautiful structures, churches, mosques, synagogues and other places where different styles are reflected. Beside mosques that Ottoman culture is dominated mostly in their structures, there are Christian and Orthodox churches and cathedrals as well as synagogues.

One of the most interesting churches in Istanbul is Bulgarian Iron Church (also known as Bulgarian St. Stephan Church) located on the Golden Horn in Balat, Fatih made entirely of cast iron. It is also known as the world’s last remaining iron church. In 1898, an Austrian architect constructed church and nearly 500 tons of iron components were brought from Austria and used to finish the construction. There were six bells in the bell tower brought from Russia, however only two of them have survived till today. After a great restoration, it has been opened to visitors with all its magnificence.

To visit this Bulgarian Orthodox Church, from Sultanahmet you can take the tram to Aksaray, then take 41Y bus to Fener station. It takes only 3 min by walk to the destination.

There are many Eastern Orthodox, Catholic and Armenian churches in Istanbul as well. One of the most known among them is Aya Yorgi Church (also known as St. George Church) belongs to Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate. It is a kind of small basilica which has many sculptures, mosaics and relics inside. It is a home of many Greek Orthodox since 18th Century. It has been restored many times, and especially at Easter time, there are many visitors from all around the world.

If you would like to visit the church, from Sultanahmet you can take tram to Aksaray, then take 41Y bus from Yenikapı station to Fener station. It is only 2 min by walk from the bus station!

If you want to visit a Catholic church, the largest one is in Beyoğlu, Taksim called St. Antoine Catholic Church (also known as Sent Antuan Kilisesi, St. Anthony of Padua). Located on famous Istiklal Avenue, it was first built in 1725, then demolished in 20th Century, however it was rebuilt and completed in 1912. In the inner patio, the statue of Pope John XXII who visited Istanbul in 2003. The church is a great example of Italian Neo-Gothic and Tuscan-Lombard styles that especially on New Year’s Eve, you may be impressed by its lightened, beautiful look.

To get there from Sultanahmet, you can take Kabataş tram to Tophane station, then walk 10-12 min to the church.

When it comes to synagogues of Istanbul, there are many of them around the city. Some of the most known synagogues in Istanbul are Balat Ahrida Synagogue, Balat Yanbol Synagogue, Neve Şalom Synagogue and Istanbul Aşkenaz Synagogue. Ahrida and Yanbol Synagogues are located on the same area, however it is not known when they were built. It is assumed to these two synagogues were built before the conquest of Istanbul in 1453. After a great fire in 17th Century, they were rebuilt and restored many times till today. There are remains from Byzantine era in the courtyard.

You can take the tram from Sultanahmet to Aksaray station, then 41Y bus from Yenikapı Transit station to Balat station. It takes 5-6 min to these synagogues by walk.

Neve Şalom is another synagogue located in Beyoğlu, near Galata Tower. It was built between the years of 1949-1951 by two newly graduate architectures. The interior design of the synagogue is more spectacular than the two others. You can reach Neve Şalom Synagogue by taking the tram from Sultanahmet to Karaköy Station and walk 10-12 min to get there.

Aşkenaz Synagogue is located in the same area, Beyoğlu, near Galata Tower. It was built in 1900 by Austria-based Jewish. The facade of the structure has a European style. If you would like to visit Aşkenaz Synagogue, you can take the tram from Sultanahmet to Karaköy Station and walk about 8 min to get there.

Churches and Synagogues in Istanbul

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt