Top Historical & Beautiful Churches in Istanbul that You Won’t Want to Miss!

As Istanbul is one of the best cities considered as the capital of culture and art, the churches in Istanbul are outstanding. The Christianity in Istanbul dates back to the 4th century. The Hagia Sophia, the Hagia Eirene and the Havariyyun are the first Christian Churches in Istanbul. There had been many churches in Istanbul which belongs to very different sects, religious orders and different nations (Greek, Armenian, Latin, Genoise and more).

Here, we put together the most important, historical and beautiful churches in Istanbul that worth a visit and see on your Istanbul visit. The list also includes museums that are formerly churches.

Active Churches

The Fener Greek Patriarchate & St. George Church in Fener

Explore Fener & Balat

The Fener Greek Patriarchate and the Patriarchal Church of St. George is located in the Fener neighborhood on the banks of the Golden Horn and share the same courtyard. The Patriarchate is still mother-church for Greek Orthodox Christianity worldwide. St. George Church has many valuable objects and the 5th century throne is the most prominent one. Continue reading…

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Church of the Holy Trinity (Hagia Triada) in Taksim

Istiklal Street 2019 - Attractions & Sights

The Hagia Triada Church is located at the entrance of the Istiklal Street, Taksim, on the left, and can be seen by everyone with its dome and twin bell towers. Dating back to 1880, it is a newly restored Greek Orthodox Church of Holy Trinity. Location Map >>

Saint Antoine (St. Anthony of Padua) Catholic Church in Istiklal Street

Located on the famous Istiklal Street in Taksim, the Saint Antoine (St. Anthony of Padua) is one of the most beautiful and magnificent churches of Istanbul. Built in 1912 in the Italian neo-gothic style, the church is also one of the largest churches in Istanbul and belongs to the most populous Catholic community. Continue reading…

St. Pierre Church in Karakoy

Located downwards Galata Tower in Karakoy, the Saint Pierre Church was built in the years between 1841-1843. After the seizure of the Dominican priests of Galata, which is now the Arab Mosque, the church moved here. With its Basilica style and four-sided altar, the rear walls of the church are built within a section of the old Genoese walls of Galata. Location Map >>

Bulgarian Orthodox Church (Iron Church, Aya Istefanos) in Fener

The Bulgarian Church (Aya Istefanos / Sveti Stefan), also known as the Iron Church, is located on the coast of the Golden Horn, close to the Fener neighborhood. The iron molds used in the structure were brought from Vienna in 1871 by ship. The church was built for the Bulgarian minority that left the Fener Greek Patriarchate. Location Map >>

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Surp Krikor Lusarovic Armenian Orhodox Church – Karaköy

Located in the Kemeralti Sakizcilar street in Karakoy, the Surp Krikor Lusarovic Church is oldest Armenian Orthodox Church in Istanbul that was built in 1431. It is also the oldest known church in Istanbul. The domes and the bell tower is very elegant that there are few churches in Istanbul that has that kind of domes. Location Map >>

Surp Vorvots Vorodman Church in Kumkapı

Located in the Kumkapi neighborhood, the Surp Vorvots Vorodman Church, which means “Children of the Lightning”, is a Byzantine church that was used by the Armenian community after the conquest of Istanbul. Consisting of a cathedral and two chapels, the church has been the patriarchal church since 1641, and is one of the three best-known Armenian churches. Location map >>

Church of Our Lady of the Mongols (Bloody Church) in Balat

Located in Balat, it is a blessed church in the late 13th century and is also known as the Saint Mary of the Mongols. The most important feature of the church is that it was not converted into a mosque during the Ottoman Empire and was left to the worship of the Greek Orthodox community. Location Map >>

Ayia Efimia Greek Orthodox Church in Kadikoy

Ayia Efimia Greek Orthodox Church is situated in the small square of Kadikoy market area. The Church was first built in the year 1694 and dates back to the 1830s.

According to the story, the Ayia Efemia was a Christian who chose not to follow the worship of the pagan gods and was subjected to torture and murder in 305 because of this resistance. Location Map >>

Museums/Mosques that are formerly Churches

Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque in Sultanahmet

Explore Sultanahmet

Dating back to 325, Hagia Sophia is a former church and museum, and declared as one of the world’s greatest architectural works and accepted as the 8th wonder of the world. Hagia Sophia is also one of the most visited landmarks and museums in Istanbul and in the world. It serves as mosque since July 2020. Continue reading…

Hagia Irene Museum in Sultanahmet

Explore Sultanahmet

Dating back to 4th century, the Hagia Irene, formerly church, now a museum, also serves as a center cultural activities and exhibitions and it is situated inside the 1st court of the Topkapi Palace Museum. It consists of three sections that include; the naos, narthex and atrium, while the standing atrium is the only surviving sample from the Byzantine period. Continue reading…

Chora Mosque in Edirnekapi

Located in the Edirnekapi neighborhood, and being part of a monastery which dates back to the 6th century, the Chora Museum (formerly Church-Museum) is one of the most impressive museums in Istanbul. Chora Museum houses very beautiful examples of Byzantine mosaics and frescos. Chora served as museum until 2020 and than converted to mosque. Continue reading…

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