Long known for its multiculturalism, Istanbul is home to many architectural gems that serve or served as places of worship. Take a tour around the city to see these gems and learn more about their histories—and the history of the city.
The Church of St. Stephen
Newly restored after a seven-year closure, the Bulgarian Church of St. Stephen in Balat reopened in January 2018. The church, completed in 1898, is also known as the Iron Church as the building was entirely made of prefabricated ironcast elements shipped from Austria.
The Cathedral of St. George
The principal Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St. George, located within the complex of Ecumenical Patriarchate in Fener, is visited by pilgrims year round. Although it has a relatively modest exterior, the inside of this church is richly decorated in traditional Orthodox style.
The Church of St. Anthony of Padua
Built by the Italian community of Istanbul between 1906 and 1912, the Church of St. Anthony of Padua is the largest Roman Catholic church in Istanbul. It was designed by prominent Levantine architect Giulio Mongeri. Multilingual services on Sundays and holidays attract crowds of international church-goers.
The Church of St. Mary of the Mongols
The only Byzantine-era church that was not converted into a mosque by decree by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror is the Church of St. Mary of the Mongols in Balat, which takes its name after the Byzantine Princess Maria Palaiologina.
Crimean Memorial Church
Built on a land donated by Sultan Abdulmecit to the British community living in the area, the Crimean Memorial Church in Galata is a British national memorial to those lost in the Crimean War. The surrounding garden adds to the natural beauty of the location.
The Hagia Triada
Built in 1880, the Hagia Triada in Taksim is the largest Greek Orthodox church in Istanbul. Designed by the Ottoman Greek architect Kampanaki in neo-Baroque style, the church has a distinctive dome and twin bell towers.
Surp Krikor Lusavoriç Armenian Church
Surp Krikor Lusavoriç (St. Gregory the Illuminator) Armenian Church, located on Meclis-i Mebusan Caddesi, is the most visible church in all of Karaköy. The original building, completed in 1431, was destroyed by fire in the eighteenth century and later demolished by road construction. The building seen today was rebuilt in 1966 by the Armenian architect Bedros Zobyan.