The Showcase of the Ancient: ‘’Balat’’

The Showcase of the Ancient: ‘’Balat’’

Balat is one of the oldest places in Istanbul and the area will make you feel like you travel in time. Start your tour with walking down from the hill and you’ll fall in love with the old, colorful Greek houses. In the old times, a large part of population was Greek and Jewish in Fener-Balat. They had left their houses before Ottoman Empire conquest Istanbul. But Fatih Sultan Mehmet let them live like the way they were living before. After the Empire’s firman, they came back to their houses.

The neighbourhood of Balat is also in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Before getting into the list Balat was suffering from poverty. Afterwards wealthy people started to built apartments, boutique hotels and restaurants. We share with you the places that you must see in this old Greek and Jewish district.

  • Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate

The building of Orthodox Patriarchate is also the head of Orthodox Church. It’s still in the same place since 1602. The old throne of Patriarchate from the 5th century and as the belief says the column that Jesus had scourged is still there. These two pieces and the three Saints’ coffins are really important historical and cultural heritage for Christianity.

  •  Saint Stephan Bulgarian Church

The technique that used for building this church is very interesting. In fact Saint Stephan Bulgarian Church was built in Vienna and transported from there to Istanbul with ships. It’s very important for the architecture history, and one of the only two other buildings in the world established with the same method.

  • Ayia Maria Church

It’s the only Byzantium Church that had kept in the first form, and it’s still standing since the 7th century. The name is coming from the Byzantium King’s daughter Princess Maria Despina Palaiologina. After her Mongol husband died, she moved back to Balat, had the church and monastery done, and lived there for the rest of her life.

  • Fener Greek Orthodox High School

In 1881, it was built with the imported pieces from France. The extraordinarily huge school was made with red bricks, so it was also named as ‘’Red Castle’’. Like we said before, in old times Balat was the place for wealthy people. You can consider this when you see the vanity of the school. If you had the chance to get in the school, you find a stunnig view.

  • Balat Bazaar

This bazaar is full of buildings that were built in different periods of history and surrounded by a lot of litte shops. It was also called as ‘’Çıfıt Bazaar’’ and ‘’Old Bazaar’’. The tavern that many songs written for ‘’Agora’’ is also there for a really long time.

Breakfast at Istanbul

Breakfast at Istanbul

Apart from being the first and the most important meal of the day, breakfast is a cultural and big thing in İstanbul. You can find totally different types and flavors in this multi-cultural city.

You have many choices to give a try. Either traditional types or familiar ones… Also keep in mind that İstanbul residents usually prefer to have breakfast outside for weekends. So finding a place is a bit difficult. Get yourself ready for long queues. But it’s worth it, trust us J

Mainly, Karaköy, Rumeli Hisarı, Emirgan and Ortaköy are the neighbourhoods that you can find many places to enjoy the food and the view of beautiful Bosphorus at the European side.

In Karaköy, after the restoration of the ancient buildings, a lot of restaurants settled in, and they give you the chance of having fine breakfast with the spirit of old and modern faces of magnificent İstanbul.

Rumeli Hisarı and Emirgan are oldest neighbourhoods for breakfast. It’s close to sea, usually quite packed but very close to sea and super peaceful. (You can also visit Sakıp Sabancı Müzesi if you prefer Emirgan for breakfast.)

In Ortaköy, you have options by the sea and also you find a hidden district 5 mins by walk from the sea where you can find the real traditional Turkish flavors.

Talking about Anatolian side of the city, Kalamış is the most popular place. There are many cafes located near the Fenerbahçe Park and Kalamış Marina. So after having a full stomach you can have a nice walk :)

Also Moda, another peaceful neighbourhood of Anatolian side, offers you many alternatives. In Moda Piere, after drinking your traditional Turkish tea and having Turkish breakfast, you can have a walk with the Prince Islands view by the sea.

If you don’t want to be surrounded with people, Çengelköy is a dreamy and peaceful option.Near the fishermen’s shelter, there is a place where you can have a tea and get some rest. You can take your own food with you. There is an old bakery where you find yummy böreks and simit to have.

Istanbul is a metropolis that serves a lot of choices to the people from all over the world, and make them satisfy. We hope these reccomendations make your holiday more delightful!


The Ancient Buildings Of Istanbul

The Ancient Buildings Of Istanbul

Istanbul has many different stories in every corner. We are not sure that If there is another city which has such a long history. Before the population increases, there were small houses all over the city. After the 19. Century, new apartments started to raise in order to provide the polulation. Now, in these areas, almost everything had chanced. But lucky local people are still living in the ancient apartments.

In Beyoğlu, you can find a lot of buildings. Mısır Apartment, Çiçek Passage and Suriye Passage are just a few of them.

Mısır Apartment was built by a Belgian family and it turned into a lux residence in 2001. On the roof top, an impressive view welcomes you. When Çiçek Passage was first built, in the first floor a lot of flower shops were settled. Rest of the building was using as apartments. We can say that, it was one of the first corporated residences in Istanbul.

Suriye Passage was also designed for same purpose with Çiçek Passage. First floor was full of newspaper offices. If you had the chance of step into one of the apartments, it will charm you with it’s high ceiling and historical ambiance.

Another area that you can find old buildings is Elmadağ Street. Arifpaşa Apartment is one of them. It’s 117 years old, built by the Ottoman Empire Palace’s last doctor Sarıcazade Arif Pasha. The porpose of building the apartment was to continue the way of ‘’Palace’’ life. In order that, the apartments have high ceilings and a secret service door which is open to the maids’ rooms.

The same architect Constantin P. Pappa has built another apartment in Moda, as a family house. It’s called ‘’Sarıca Arif Pasha Mansion’’. It’s full of Rome antique ornaments on the walls and ceilings. The world-famous pianist Ayşegül Sarıca, who is the granddaughter of Arif Pasha, is still living in there.

We hope that this guide will lead you during your journey. Don’t forget, Istanbul is a vast place! Explore the hidden patterns of the city, clandestine corners and mysterious places. You’ll fall in love with Istanbul in every breath you take!

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