A truly Byzantine Sunday in Istanbul …
Today was such a wonderful and sunny day and we ventured out to yet another part of Istanbul – Fener. It is right by the Golden Horn, across Galata Bridge, next to Sultanahmet. An area that used to be inhabited by the Jewish and Greek population, but this is no longer the case. A number of breathtaking Byzantine churches of the old Constantinople are still there and open to the public. One can easily spend an entire day in the area and get lost in history.
A further highlight in the area is the Bulgarian Orthodox church St. Stephen or also known as the Bulgarian Iron Church, as it is entirely made out of iron.
The church was designed and prefabricated in its different parts (weighing 500 tons) in Vienna by R. Ph. Waagner and then shipped through the Danube and the Black Sea to Istanbul. It is an industrial manufactured church which was completed in 1898.
We came just at the right time to be able to see the interior of the church as well. The service for the Bulgarian community had just finished …
From there we walked along the Byzantine city wall of Constantinople to the 13th century Pammakaristos Church or now Fethiye Mosque which was a Byzantine church of which the chapel with its stunning mosaics is a museum and the remaining part of the church is used as a mosque.
Our walk continued to Chora Church or Kariye Müzesi. It is one of the most beautiful Byzantine churches and famous for its well-preserved Byzantine mosaics.
Those Byzantine frescos and mosaics were strong influences on the works by Gustav Klimt and the aesthetics developed by the Vienna Secession around 1900, more than 1000 years later.
After all this splendour and culture, we completed the day at a restaurant nearby which is known for its fine Ottoman cuisine. It is called Asitane, Kariye Camii Sokak (http://www.asitanerestaurant.com/English/index.php). We had meals dating back to the 15th and 16th century: almond soup, rice in quince, chicken with apricots, raisins and saffron rice. All very delicious!
And so it continues …