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Balat & Fener, The Hidden History and culture in Istanbul.

Hosted by the Consul of the Istanbul History & Culture Lovers Group
Event Cover Photo
Took place 2 months ago
Sat 22 Sep 11:00 - 17:00

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Balat and Fener are the traditional Jewish quarter in the Fatih district of Istanbul. It is located on the European side of Istanbul, in the old city on the historic peninsula, on the western bank of the Golden Horn. Balat and Fener are certainly the richest in history, the most fascinating and characteristic. For these reasons, they have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Even so, less than 1% of the lifers in Istanbul visit these sites.
we will start to visit the beautiful Protected content The area of Zeyrek, with its Ottoman wooden houses Protected content old, is one of the most picturesque ones in the whole of Istanbul.

Then we will head towards Çarşamba neighborhood. Here lies one of the most famous Byzantine churches of Istanbul, the Church of Theotokos Pammakaristos( Protected content ) now known as Fethiye Camii, since presently it is a half mosque and half museum. And walking among colored Ottoman houses, that superbly restored, that one can feel the history of Istanbul. Devout Byzantine priests, coarse Crusaders, proud Ottoman Paşas with their bevy of servants, Armenian traders, Jewish shopkeepers, and gypsy fortune tellers. Walking among houses of bizarre colors and shapes, among children playing soccer in the streets, one will arrive in front of Rum Lisesi, the Greek Orthodox College( Protected content ), the magnificent and peculiar red-brick building that dominates the hill of Fener. Climbing up a picturesque staircase one will then reach the top of the hill, where once the ancient walls of Constantinople ran, and it is precisely here that in the 13th century was built a church unknown to most, but of fundamental importance in the history of the city.

This is the graceful Church of St. Mary of the Mongols, ( Protected content known as the Red Church. And we must visit of the Cathedral of St. George ( Protected content ) because The historic and symbolic importance of this place is huge. It is one of the five main centers of Christianity: in fact, in order of hierarchy, the Patriarchate of Constantinople is the second after Rome and precedes Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. And walking to Balat is the historic Jewish Quarter to see redevelopment project sponsored by UNESCO. where there are as many as three synagogues including the beautiful Ahrida Synagogue ( Protected content on foot, to reach the famous church of Holy Saviour in Chora, now known as Kariye Müzesi ( Protected content ). Its magnificent mosaics and frescoes have nothing to envy to those of Aya Sofia, rather they are objectively much more beautiful. It is, without a doubt, one of the most important historical monuments of Istanbul, an extraordinary example of Byzantine stylistic perfection.
During our walk, we will sit in colorful old Balat cafes. Where cats will share your table without your permission.

For any information, you can call me: Protected content

- If it is too early you can catch us anytime you want.
- It is better to wear suitable walking shoes.