Historical churches in Turkey are of great importance. Turkey is a center of sacred institutions. Christianity in Turkey has a long history dating back to very ancient years. There’re several Christian sects, religious orders, and different national cultures in Turkey, reflected in the churches.
Many certain types of churches in Turkey are Armenian Apostolics, Anatolians, Armenian Catholics, Armenian Evangelicals / Protestants, Greek Orthodox, European Catholics, Anglicans, and Protestants. Although the Christian population has declined, its rich history remains in the form of churches in Turkey.
Turkey’s Best Churches
Here are the best and must-see churches in Turkey:
The Armenian Apostolic Church
The Armenian Apostolic Church is the excellent church originating in 301 CE founded by Gregory the Illuminator Apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus through the apostolic succession confirmed by tradition.
This is an Eastern Orthodox church with around 9,000,000 members making it the largest Christian denomination in Turkey.
Bulgarian Church of St. Stephen
The Bulgarian Church of St Stephen is also known as the Bulgarian Iron Church. It’s a famous church in the Istanbul region of Turkey due to prefabricated cast-iron elements in its construction.
It’s a three-domed cross-shaped basilica. This church is an integral part of the Bulgarian community. This church was initially built with wood, and later due to a fire in 1898, the church was rebuilt using 500-ton iron. The architect of this great church is Hovsep Aznavour.
Orthodox Church of St. Paul
Also known as Antakya Orthodox Church is the second oldest church globally and is one of the most famous churches in Turkey. It’s a classical Orthodox church founded around 41 AD. This is dedicated to two critical saints in Jerusalem, namely St. Peter and St. Paul.
The church building was demolished due to an earthquake in 1872 and then rebuilt by the Russians. The building is rich in Russian architectural styles, including three entrances, an ancient font, a small and beautiful courtyard, lots of light for the days inside the church, and many essential liturgical artifacts and icons.
Usually, churches aren’t open for public worship, but this place is open to all. This is an important pilgrimage site as thousands of Christians visit this church every year. Before calling, please check if the church is available or not, as it has been undergoing restoration for some time.
Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua, Istanbul
Inaugurated in 1912, the Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua is one of the largest Catholic churches in Istanbul. The other name for this church is Church of St. Anthony of Padua.
The original church was built in 1725 by the local Italian community but was demolished for some reasons, and the new church of Sant’Antonio da Padua was built.
This church is considered a minor basilica type and run by some Italian priests. This important place is the Catholic church, which is the most prestigious in Turkey, and it follows a very large community.
Mar Petyun Keldani Church
Also known as the Keldani Catholic Church, it’s a 17th-century church located in the old city of Istanbul. The church belongs to the Keldani Eastern Catholic Church and is exceptionally beautiful and visual.
One of the most impressive parts of this church is the four-legged minaret in Diyarbakır. The Church is a unique, very well-kept cultural site. This church’s walls, lights, and altar tend to leave a substantial sacred impact on the visitor’s mind.
Basalt was used in the very important building of this church. Since 1681, this church is said to serve as Amid Keldani’s church. It’s one of the wealthiest historical remains in Diyarbakır near the Seyh Mutahhar Mosque.
Mor Hananyo Monastery
Mor Hananyo Monastery is one of the main tourist attractions in Turkey. Furthermore, it’s one of the oldest monasteries in the southern Turkish region. This monastery underwent a restoration in 2007.
This monastery is in excellent condition with beautiful items on display, such as ancient bibles and an old cellar that people used to worship when the building was a sun temple. There’re two churches within this monastery.
The first is Mor Hananyo built was the Syriac architects, namely Theodosius and Theodore. The main attraction of this church is the largest and most magnificent dome.