Old Ottoman Istanbul: Fener Balat Neighborhoods
Fener and Balat neighborhoods have increasing popularity in Istanbul. New stylish cafés and restaurants opened in the area upon the traveler’s interest. Fener Balat neighborhoods have old and narrow streets and a great oriental legacy left from the Ottoman Empire‘s period.
Colorful Houses Of Fener Neighborhood
Fener (Phanar) Neighborhood
Fener area used to be the residence of Greek families that left from Byzantine times. Following the conquest of the city by Turks, old and well-established Greek families started to live by the shores of the Golden Horn. Their main living area was Fener.
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate had also moved to the area, by the social regulations of Ottoman Empire. Greek Orthodox community built the Church of St. George inside the Patriarchate complex.
The Greek Orthodox School (Fener Rum Erkek Lisesi)
The Greek Orthodox School had also been built in Fener area to give religious education to the children. The graduates of this prestigious school, assigned to the Patriarchate as well-educated priests. One of the brilliant students of the school, Konstantinos Dimadis; later became an architect and re-built his school.
Greek Orthodox School Of Fener Area
Konstantinos completely changed the architecture of the school. Literally made it look like a castle. This building adds a value to the Fener neighborhood with its strong character. Majority of the people who comes to Fener streets for the first time, thinks that the school is Orthodox Patriarchate due to its attractive appearance.
Church of St. George In Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
Balat (Palation) Neighborhood
Balat used to be a home to Jewish community of Ottoman Istanbul. Jews who escaped from the strict religious regulations of Isabel and Ferdinand of Spain, moved to Istanbul in late 15th Century.
There had already been some Jewish population here from Balkans, the newcomers blended with them and lived for hundreds of years. Nowadays a very few people left from well-established Jewish families. Most of them moved to the more popular parts of Istanbul like Bosphorus shores, Princes Islands or Nişantaşı, Ortaköy, Bebek “high-end” districts.
Yet, Balat is still known with the houses that left from those days. Cute colourful houses of Balat attracting more and more people everyday. While other parts of the city is transformed quickly with modern age, Balat still protects its old identity.
Houses Of Fener Balat Neighborhood With Old Cobblestone Streets
Istanbul Off The Beaten Track: Fener And Balat
Fener & Balat: For hundreds of years, majority of non-muslim people lived in these areas. These powerful images of Old Istanbul has been receiving increasing interest and appreciation from the locals for the last couple of years.
Therefore the entrepreneurs investing money to both Fener and Balat districts, since the areas are considered as the rising stars of Istanbul. Balat soon to be expected intellectual hub of the city like Karaköy, Galata or Cihangir. New art galleries, bookstores, cafés and restaurants about to be opened in Balat neightborhood soon.
Balat’s Coffee Department As One Of The Top Coffee Shops of Istanbul
The visitors of Istanbul mainly focus on Grand Bazaar, Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. If you are a traveller who are looking for off the beaten track beauties of cities or if you are a photographer to capture the secret gems of cities; you may consider visiting the Fener Balat neighborhoods. It’s guaranted that you will get some of your best shots of your Istanbul trip.
How To Get Fener and Balat Neighborhoods?
The public transportation is a little bit complicated to get these areas. You can take a bus in the direction of Eyüp from Eminönü (Old City Seaside) area. Fener–Balat located within 15-20 minutes taxi drive distance from both “Istanbul Old City” Sultanahmet or Taksim Square.
Further Recommended Reading:
- Ortakoy Neighborhod Things To Do
- Beyoglu Taksim Things To Do
- Istanbul Besiktas Things To Do
- Istiklal Street Things To Do
- Best Coffee Shops in Istanbul
By Serhat Engül