With so many intriguing locations to see in Istanbul, visitors frequently overlook some of the city's most stunningly magnificent attractions. Fener and Balat, two of the most beautiful neighbourhoods in any Turkish city, are excellent instances of such neglected treasures. These two neighbourhoods, located on the western side of the Golden Horn, were previously home to Istanbul's Greek and Jewish communities.
They are now considered world heritage monuments by UNESCO because of their historical and aesthetic value to the city. Despite this, just a few tourists get to stroll Fener and Balat's cobblestone lanes, which rise and dip like little hills. Many people lose out on the wonderful ambiance produced by the colourful walls of the beautiful ancient stone buildings and churches in the neighbourhood.
The Jewish and Greek residents of the two areas left behind a plethora of interesting attractions. These tourist sites today communicate the tale of Istanbul's historic past with foreign settlers to the numerous visitors that visit them while strolling through these lovely alleys. These are the following:
Since the 17th century, the Church of St. George has served as the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Eastern Orthodox Church's senior patriarchate and spiritual head of the world's 300 million Orthodox Christians. As a result, the church is a popular pilgrimage destination for Orthodox Christians, particularly those from Greece.
The Fener Greek Highschool is one of Fener's most famous monuments, with its unmistakable red silhouette and beautiful architecture. The institution, also known as Phanar Greek Orthodox College or Phanar Roman Orthodox Lyceum, is the city's oldest Greek Orthodox school. It stands out in the neighbourhood and appears to be a massive crimson castle at first glance.
Istanbul has numerous gorgeous places of worship, and one of the city's most beautiful churches is located in Fener, right near to the Golden Horn. The ornately decorated church was started as a modest timber structure by Bulgarians residing in the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century. Despite this, a fire destroyed the old edifice, leaving the most beautiful of churches in its stead.
The Church of Our Lady of the Mongols, also known as Kanlı Kilise in Turkish, is Constantinople's sole Byzantine-era church that was not turned into a mosque by the Ottomans. This was possible because of a gift from Mehmed II to the mother of Greek architect Christodoulos, which permitted the church to be utilized by the Greek Orthodox community.
Despite the fact that the church is painted red, this is not how it earned its name. The Greeks' last fruitless fight against the Ottomans unfolded around the structure during Constantinople's surrender, earning it the Turkish moniker Kanlı Kilise (Church of Blood).
In Fener and Balat, there are as many restaurants to eat as there are places to see and activities to do. Because touring the two areas might take up to a half-day, don't forget to eat some great local cuisine while you're there. The cuisine is delicious, and the cafés and restaurants are as colourful, genuine, and vibrant as the streets around them.
Perispri, the Forno, Kofteci Arnavut, Balat Sahil restaurant, and the Agora Tavern are just a few of the popular restaurants in the neighbourhood.