Bulgarian Orthodox Church
Bulgarian Orthodox Church
4.5
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The area
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Neighborhood: Fener & Balat
This sleepy and rather socially conservative area of Istanbul hosts a small but thriving Jewish community, the patriarchate of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and some of the most beautiful churches and Christian art in the world. Much of what’s most interesting to witness in Fener and Balat sits between the surviving ancient city walls of Constantinople and the serene shores of the Golden Horn. Despite the many splendid sights, historic attractions, stunning vistas, and warm Turkish welcome, the area remains largely unperturbed by the tourist trade that characterizes the atmosphere in nearby Sultanahmet and around the Grand Bazaar. Travelers that like to explore off the beaten track will reap big rewards for making the effort to visit this low-key part of town.
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles117 reviews
Excellent
76
Very good
27
Average
12
Poor
2
Terrible
0

satorigal
Marion, NC302 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2019
In Balat, this church is cast iron, was built in Vienna, taken apart, shipped and reassembled here in 1898. It was one of three built by RPh. Waagner, and the only one standing today. It has been refurbished and is the jewel of small churches in the world.
Written March 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

mona
Beirut, Lebanon16 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2022 • Family
Amazing Church!! So attractive yet simple and peaceful. Loved the ambiance and rhymes inside the Church. Artistic and bless full Icons. Loved the visit and had time to pray and mediate our minds. Highly recommended!
Written September 21, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

See the world with Daph
Santorini, Greece470 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
It is located right on the waterfront near the Patriarchate . It is one if the most intriguing architectural curiosities..the gothic revival cast-iron Church of Saint Stephen of the Bulgars. This was constructed in Vienna, and then shipped down the Danube and assembled here in istanbul.Unfortunatelly because of the road, church has many problems and need restoration.It is a must to see place
Written January 8, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Carol A S
Marietta, GA4,162 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2019
Bulgarian St Stephen Church (a.k.a. the Bulgarian Iron Church), is a Bulgarian Orthodox church in the Balat neighborhood on the shore of the Golden Horn. It is made of prefabricated cast iron elements in the Gothic revival and neo-Baroque styles. The richly ornamented church is a three-domed, cross-shaped basilica, with gilded iron screens, and a balcony. The main nave is separated from the side aisles by columns. The altar faces the Golden Horn; the gilded iconostasis is particularly fine. A 40 m-high belfry with six bells rises above the narthex. Bulgarian Orthodox worshipers used a small wooden church starting in 1849; an Ottoman royal decree of 28 February 1870 established the Bulgarian Exarchate. After a fire damaged the wooden church a more durable (and larger) structure was sought. Masonry was infeasible due to the soft ground, so an iron structure was proposed. An international competition was conducted to produce the prefabricated cast iron parts of the church, won by an Austrian company, R. Ph. Waagner. The prefabricated elements, weighing 500 tons, were produced in Vienna in 1893 to 1896 and transported to Istanbul by ship through the Danube and the Black Sea. The church was assembled and inaugurated in 1898; it was renovated in 2018. Festivities are held on December 27, the feast day of St Stephen's, the patron saint. The church is open every day with no entry fee, although a donation is greatly appreciated.
Written August 19, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

apg59
Florida145 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2018 • Couples
St Stephan Chruch is a Bulgarian Orthodox church and it is famous for being made of prefabricated cast iron elements and all the pieces were attached together with nuts, bolts, rivets or welding. Beautiful ornamented church, inside with its three domes cross shaped. it is one of the few surviving prefabricated cast iron churches in the world.
Written May 31, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

lovethisplanet2014
Palmerston, Australia225 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2018
It's just been renovated and saved from rusting away. Made from iron in Vienna and shipped here about 150 years ago. Even what looks like marble is iron (be respectful and don't bang too much against the walls). Awesome historic and spiritual place.
Written January 11, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TubaKoseogluOkcu
Istanbul, Türkiye6,563 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
This Bulgarian Church is quite unique in it's being made of only iron and being a prefab building. Before this church, Bulgarians who were Ottoman Empire citizens were part of the Orthodox Patriarchate but as of mid 19th century, their differences with the Patriarchate grew and they establised a totally different faith group and this required a separate church. St Stefan is the first church devoted to Bulgarians. It was designed by an Armenian architect, Hovsep Aznavour. As the location devoted for the church is a made ground, a prefab building was a compulsary choice. An Austrian company, R. Ph. Waagner, which won the competion for construction in 1892, shipped the pieces for assembly via vessels and in 1898, finally the church was open to worship. Today, the building still stands, inside is a classical Orthodox church. The steel construction outside is quite worn by humidity, rain and weather conditions. It's a must to see monument in Golden Horn area
Written January 10, 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ephesusguide
Izmir, Türkiye315 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2012
The construction of the building is unusual.
İt is portable can be moved on rails.
stone workis are great but comparing to some older buildings such as
Dolmabahce Palace etc is not that important.
Written April 3, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

iskandil
İstanbul188 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
The story of it is interesting and also the grey building itself looks impressive. You can see it even from long distance and location is so good. Nice to walk around the church and then by Golden Horn.
Written July 5, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Hicranca
Istanbul, Türkiye31 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
İt is one of the rarest buildings taht u can see totally made of iron,and it is the only Bulgarian church of Turkey. The icons inside are very good. The chuch is more close to an Russian Orthodox chuch rtaher than Greek Ordotox in terms of depictions of the icons.
Written February 6, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Bulgarian Orthodox Church - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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