St. Stephen Bulgarian Church, Balat, İstanbul

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St. Stephen Bulgarian Church, Balat, İstanbul Erdoğan Aktaş 20 March 2023

St. Stephen Bulgarian Church, Balat, İstanbul

Sveti Stefan Bulgar Kilisesi (St. Stephen Bulgarian Church), located in Istanbul, Turkey, is a historic Bulgarian Orthodox church that dates back to the 19th century. It is named after St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, and is dedicated to him.

The church was built in 1898 by the Bulgarian community living in Istanbul, during a period of revival in Bulgarian national identity and culture. The architect of the church was Hovsep Aznavur, an Armenian architect who also designed several other prominent buildings in Istanbul.

The church is notable for its unique architectural style, which combines elements of Byzantine, Armenian and Bulgarian styles. Its interior features beautiful frescoes and icons, and it has a distinctive bell tower that is visible from afar.

During the Ottoman Empire, the Bulgarian community in Istanbul faced various restrictions on their religious and cultural activities. However, the Sveti Stefan Bulgar Kilisesi served as an important symbol of the community’s resilience and identity.

Today, the church continues to be an active place of worship for the Bulgarian Orthodox community in Istanbul. It is also a popular tourist attraction for its historical and architectural significance.

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