After Turkish class this morning, I headed out to an area called Fener with two other students from class, Phllycia and MaryLou. This is an area of Istanbul that I’ve wanted to explore for a while but it’s not a place I feel comfortable out on my own. We set out to find two sites: Patriarchal Church of St. George (Greek Orthodox) and St. Mary of the Mongols.
Now the Church of St. George ‘is the main Eastern Orthodox church in the world; the central place of worship for a congregation of over 300 million’ people… right in Istanbul, a Muslim country. Strange, no? But there we were.
We then headed out in search of St. Mary of the Mongols and found a cute antique shop and a couple of other photo opps:
As for St. Mary of the Mongols, it’s a bit hidden and you actually have to knock on the door to get in (thank goodness we had the guidebook with us). Once inside, it was amazing. Peaceful, cool, and all to ourselves, I could feel the quiet and the history of this sanctuary. There is this small, underground section that was once a wind cellar and apparently a tunnel that led to the Haiga Sophia… amazing, right?
Now from what I understood from what the caretaker said, the silver on the altar is all original and the fresco is as old as the ones in Haiga Sophia… and no line!
Istanbul continues to surprise and delight me.