Istanbul Hidden Treasures
On our private Istanbul city tour we start the day visiting some of Istanbul's forgotten treasures in a sequence.
Greek Orthodox College is only minutes away from the Church of St. George in Phanar, and can be easily seen from miles due to its distinctive shape and colour.


The College is a prominent Greek Orthodox college in Istanbul. The earliest foundation dates back to 1454, a year after the conquest, by Matheos Kamariotis. The present building was constructed from 1881 to 1883 and cost 17,210 Ottoman gold pounds that is a fortune for its time, by the architect Dimadis. The college is famed for having graduated many Ottoman ministers, Dimitrie Cantemir was one of them. The red coloured building displays an imposing site for viewers from the Golden Horn,  castle-shape like design makes it fifth largest castle in Europe.

The grey colored building in front of the red building is the Bulgarian St Stephen Church which was built for the Bulgarian minority in Istanbul. It is known for being completely of cast iron and  shows  Neo-Gothic and Neo-Baroque architectural influences. Prefabricated elements were produced in Vienna in 1893-1896 and brought to Istanbul by Danube river,  and  was assembled  at the site of  a wooden structured church in 1898 after one and half years of work.
Church of St George ( Aya Yorgi) was the principal Greek Orthodox Church in Istanbul and  functions as the center of the  Greek Orthodox  Pathricate since about 1600 after being moved to various places in the city.
This small church, also the burial place of Theodora, wife of the Emperor Justinian, dedicated to St Greorory displays  no outside significance except the interior is lavishly decorated. The original building, which was a convent, has been through many fires and hence had to be rebuilt so many times. The building itself may not be but the ecclesiastical collection was noteworthy to be seen, among these relics  St Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom, removed by Fourth Crusaders in 1204,  returned back in 2004  by Pope John Paul II.
The visiting hours is from 8.30am to 4pm.
Saint Mary of the Mongols situated at the summit of a hill and behind a high wall, not easy to identify from outside. A road, Sancaktar yokusu named after the Ottoman Standard Bearer ,  winds up to this commanding spot from the Greek Orthodox Centre in Phanar (Fener as locals call it) by the magnificent looking red building or the Greek College. The church is also known as ' Kanli Kilise ( Bloody Church)' due to their resistance to Ottoman soldiers.

Remained as the only Greek Orthodox Church after the conquest with the decree of the Conquer. Decrees can be seen today on the church wall.  After her return to Constantinople in1261 Maria Palaiologina, daughter of Emperor Michael VIII and widow of Mongol  Abaqa Khan built the chucrh on the place of a monastery. Last Judgment scene, mosaic representation of Theotokos and icons are worthy to bee seen.
The legened has it that there is a secret passage from this church to Hagia Sophia.

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off-the-beaten track

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ottoman heritage tour

byzantine heritage tour

istanbul walking tour

istanbul asia tour

istanbul bosphorus tour

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hidden treasures tour