Greek Sites of Istanbul

Part Two: European Side

 

22. Church of the Holy Trinity

Αγία Τριάδα (Hagia Triada)

İstiklal Caddesi, Sıraselviler Caddesi & Meşelik Sokak, Taksim
1880

The Church of Holy Trinity near Taksim Square is the largest Greek Orthodox shrine in Istanbul today. Erected in 1880, it is an Eclectic building with influences of Gothic, Baroque and Neoclassical architecture. It has a large dome and twin bell towers.

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The church is surrounded by a big garden. The garden was, at least in my imagination, the scene of a homosexual love affair described in the novel ‘Death in Troy’ by Bilge Karasu. In the summer of 2014 I came here to listen to the hymns on Sunday mornings, at services attended by just a handful of the faithful.

 

23. Zappeio School for Girls

Meşelik Sokak 9, Taksim
Ioannis Ioannidis, 1882-1885

The Zappeio School for Girls was founded in 1875. It was sponsored by, and named after, Konstantinos Zappas, an Aromanian-Greek entrepreneur who supported the foundation of many schools in Istanbul as well as in Epirus and Thessaly at the time. It came to be one of the most prestigious schools of the era. Its first director was Kalliopi Kehagia, a famous educator and feminist who had also served as the director of the Arsakeio School in Athens. Primary school teachers were also trained at the Zappeio.

The school was originally located on Meşrutiyet Caddesi 47. The huge Neoclassical building next to the Church of Hagia Triada, where the school operates now, was built in 1882-1885, right after the completion of the church. A decade later, the Armenian Esayan School opened across the street from the Zappeion.

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24. Church of the Presentation of Saint Mary

Εἰσόδια τῆς Θεοτόκου (Eisodia tis Theotokou)

At the end of Emir Nevruz Sokak, Galatasaray
Hacı Komninos; 1804, 1831, 1860; the bell tower – 1837

Next to the Hazzopulo Passage is a beautiful Greek Orthodox church dedicated to the Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple. Built in 1804, it was originally just a one-nave structure. It was expanded in 1831, probably to host the Fermeneciler School, which had just burned down. The church gave its name to the school, which soon moved on the other side of the Grande Rue (and later became the Zografeion Lyceum). The bell tower was added in 1837. The current look is mostly from 1860, when the aisles were added. The church has a peaceful courtyard, just a few steps away from the hustle and bustle of İstiklal Caddesi.

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25. Zografeion Lyceum

Turnacıbaşı Caddesi 15, Galatasaray
Periklis Fotiadis, 1892-1893; enlarged in 1962

The precursor of the Zografeion Lyceum was the Fermeneciler School, established in 1808. That school was destroyed by fire in 1831. The classes soon resumed near the Church of Eisodion, after which the school was soon named. In 1846 it moved to the other side of the Grande Rue.

Towards the end of the 19th century, the building where the school operated was in a bad state, and the construction of a new, bigger building was proposed. It was named after Christakis Zografos, a Greek banker and philanthropist who made the largest donation for its construction. (He had also given money for the erection of, and his name to, a primary school for girls in Yeniköy, established some twenty years before.)

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The school was renovated and expanded in 1962. Despite the 1955 pogroms against the Greek community of Istanbul, it had more than 700 students in the early 1960s. Many famous artists, architects, politicians and theologians have studied here, including Bartholomew I, the current Patriarch of Constantinople. With the decrease of the number of Greeks living in Istanbul, the amount of students at the Zografeion has also dwindled, with only 53 students attending the school in the academic year of 2018/2019.

 

26. Church of Saints Constantine and Helen

Άγιοι Κωνσταντίνος και Ελένη (Hagioi Konstantinos kai Eleni)

Kalyoncu Kulluğu Caddesi and Kamer Bostan Sokak, Tarlabaşı
1861

This church dates back to 1861 and is dedicated to Constantine the Great and his mother Helena.

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27. Church of Saint Paraskevi

Αγία Παρασκευή (Hagia Paraskevi)

Kalaycıbahçe Sokak 2, Hasköy
1724-1752, 1833

There was a church in this location in the Byzantine era. The decision to build a new church here was made in 1692 by Constantin Brâncoveanu, the Prince of Wallachia, under whose administration many beautiful churches and palaces were built in what is today Southern Romania. A new church was built between 1724-1752. It was extensively restored in 1833. Today it is used by the Romanian community of Istanbul.

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28. Church of the Annunciation of Saint Mary

Παναγία Ευαγγελίστρια (Panagia Evangelistria)

Irmak Caddesi, Kasap Hurşit Sokak, Mirmiran Sokak & Hacı İlbey Sokak, Dolapdere
1893

This church is located on a street where, I remember, a very busy men’s market had spread out on a Sunday morning in December 2015. It was completed in 1893 and opened for service in 1894.

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29. Church of Saint Athanasius

Άγιος Αθανάσιος (Hagios Athanasios)

Omuzdaş Sokak 13, Kurtuluş
1855-1858

The construction of this church began in 1855. It opened for service in 1858. It was the first Greek church after 1453 that was allowed to have a dome and a bell tower.

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30. Church of Saint Demetrius

Άγιος Δημήτριος (Hagios Demetrios)

Between Kurtuluş Caddesi, Safa Meydanı Sokak, Ateşböceği Sokak & Er Meydanı Caddesi, Kurtuluş
1726 and later

A church is thought to have stood here in the 16th century. According to a local legend, when a church in Kasımpaşa dedicated to Saint Demetrius was converted into a mosque after 1453, shipyard workers saved the saint’s icon and carried it to the Church of Saint Athanasius in Tatavla, which was thereafter named after Saint Demetrius. The current building has its roots in 1726, but significant additions were made to it later on. Nearby stood a school and the Ottoman Greek sports club ‘Heracles’ (established in 1896).

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31. Church of the Holy Apostles

Δώδεκα Απόστολοι (Dodeka Apostoloi)

Avukat Caddesi 27, Feriköy
1868

This church is dedicated to the Holy Apostles. Above the lintel over the western door there is a marble inscription saying that the church was built on the site where there was no church before and that it was completed in May 1868. It was renovated in 1948.

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32. Church of Saint Phocas

Άγιος Φωκάς (Hagios Fokas)

Muallim Naci Caddesi 16, Ortaköy
1856

Phocas was the Bishop of Sinope under Trajan. He refused to renounce Christ and was thrown in a hot bath, where he died as a martyr. A church dedicated to him was located around here in the 7th century, and it gave a name to the whole neighborhood. There was a cemetery church on this spot in about 1560, enlarged in 1693. The old church burned down in 1719.

The current building dates back to 1856. The congregation of this church was made of poor people such as farmers, market gardeners, fishermen and boatmen – a big contrast with the rather upscale nature of the Ortaköy neighborhood of today.

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33. Church of Saint Mary of the Bearberries

Παναγία Κουμαριώτισσα (Panagia Koumariotissa)

Köybaşı Caddesi, Sarı Asman Sokak & Salkım Küpe Sokak, Yeniköy
1837

This church was rebuilt in 1837 over an older construction. It is dedicated to Virgin Mary of the Bearberries. The dedication comes from an icon found in a nearby forest, where these berries grew in abundance. The detached wooden bell tower was added later.

The church holds the tombs of Stephanos Karatheodoris (the personal doctor of Sultan Mahmud II who halted a plague in 1836 by enforcing quarantine), his wife and his son Alexandros Karatheodoris Pasha (a statesman in the era of Sultan Abdul Hamid II).

There is also a bust of Constantine P. Cavafy in the garden, inscribed with his words: ‘If you find yourself smiling, Stranger, know that you’re in Yeniköy.’

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34. Church of Saint Nicholas

Άγιος Νικόλαος (Hagios Nikolaos)

Sait Halim Paşa Caddesi & Kürkçü Faik Sokak, Yeniköy
1818 or 1838

This church with a detached bell tower is from 1818 or 1838.

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35. Church of Saint George

Άγιος Γεώργιος (Hagios Georgios)

Simitçi Salih Sokak 5, Yeniköy
1851

This church was built in 1851. Unlike most of Istanbul’s Greek Orthodox churches, which are subordinated to the Patriarch in Phanar, this one is the metochion of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

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36. Zografeion Primary School for Girls

Sait Halim Paşa Caddesi, uphill from the Church of Saint Nicholas, Yeniköy
Konstantinos Dimadis, 1872

This English-looking structure on a hill overlooking the Bosphorus was completed in 1872. Its construction was financed by Christakis Zografos, who later also sponsored the erection of the Zografeion Lyceum in Galatasaray. It is one of the first works of the Greek architect Konstantinos Dimadis, who also designed the Phanar Greek Orthodox College.

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Part Three: Asian Side

 

37. Church of Saint Euphemia

Αγία Ευφημία (Hagia Effimia)

Yasa Caddesi & Mühürdar Caddesi, Kadıköy
1830-1832

Saint Euphemia lived in Chalcedon (Kadıköy). She refused to offer sacrifices to Ares, and she was arrested and tortured. She died after she had been thrown to a bear in around 304. Later a cathedral was built in her honour over her grave. In 451, at the Council of Chalcedon, her spirit’s intervention was thought to have lead to the decision that Jesus Christ has two natures, one fully human, another fully divine. Her remains were removed from the original church during the Persian conquest of Chalcedon in around 620. These are now at the Patriarchate in Phanar.

The current Church of Saint Euphemia at Kadıköy Market dates back to 1694. The building is from 1830-1832.

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38. Church of the Holy Trinity

Αγία Τριάδα (Hagia Triada)

General Asım Gündüz Caddesi, Dr. İhsan Ünlüer Sokak, & Hacı Şükrü Sokak, Kadıköy
1902

This prominent church is from 1902. It’s an Eclectic building (mostly Neo-Byzantine and Neo-Renaissance) with a magnificent dome. It is reminiscent of the church of the same name in Taksim.

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39. Church of Saint Pantaleon

Άγιος Παντελεήμων (Hagios Panteleimon)

İcadiye Caddesi, Behlül Sokak, Menteş Sokak & Bican Efendi Sokak, Kuzguncuk
1890-1892; the bell tower – 1911

The church was built in 1831 on the site of an earlier church, dating back to 550. It burned down in 1872. The reconstruction began in 1890 and the church reopened in 1892. Its noteworthy detached bell tower is from 1911.

The main entrance to the complex is through the base of the bell tower. There is an hagiasma as well as some relief carvings inset into the walls of the church.

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40. Church of Saint George of the Golden Tiles

Άγιος Γεώργιος Χρυσοκεραμιδά (Hagios Georgios Chrysokeramida)

Kuleli Caddesi & Tanrıverdi Sokak, Çengelköy
1830

This church may stand on the site of a Byzantine monastery, built in the 6th century by Empress Theodora for repentant sinful women. The current building is from the 19th century. The name ‘Chrysokeramida’ comes from the roof tiles that shone like gold when seen from afar.

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