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Istanbul's hidden historical neighborhood: Balat

Istanbul - Author City Chief: Ege

Are you ready to go on a historic and delicious trip to Balat? - Istanbul's historical neighbourhood - 
where the rents increased in the last 3 years at like bitcoin speed.


Years ago, Balat is known as the Jewish Quarter. We often see examples of Jewish houses in their neighbourhoods. These are also three-storey, narrow front facade, second and third folding buildings like bay windows.

Fener Greek High School


Fener Greek High School is one of the very few Greek educational institutions operating in Istanbul. 


The architect of the school was Constantin Dimadis. The red bricks, one of the most striking points of the school, were brought from Marseille.


Additional Information: Today, mixed education with a very small number of students (50-60 students) is ongoing. The language of instruction is Turkish and Greek.

Ahrida Synagogue

Located on Kürkçü Çeşme Street, this synagogue was founded by the Jews who migrated from Macedonia to Istanbul. 
Nowadays, the biggest synagogue in Istanbul, as you see above, According to a rumour, the praying tribune resembles the ship of Noah. This is an incredibly impressive historical monument built 550 years ago.

Surp Hıreşdagabed Church

The history of the church dates back to the 16th century. Churchs iron gate is located in the excavation around Topkapi and is re-attached to the church. There are reliefs on the door where Aya Yorgi kills a dragon and Jesus tells of the Ascension of the Chest. The most important ritual in the church is on September 12th in this place - where the miracles are believed to have taken place. (also Muslims come this day)

Balat is so limited? Of course not :) but we left the historical tour here and headed towards Vodina Street, one of the famous streets of Balat. The best part of this place is that the houses are undergoing restoration without being damaged. The fact that UNESCO has been protected by Balat and attached to the World Heritage List is an important detail for this city. When you get down to Vodina Street, you start to meet cafes.


Many famous movies were shot here. Cennet Mahallesi, Aşkı Roman, Şeref Meselesi. 


On Vodina Street you meet such delightful cafés :) The design is fine, simple and stylish.

As we walked along Vodina Street, we sat down at BY Harve, who took care of the design. the café is designed with every detail carefully thought. There are delicious pasta and homemade desserts on your menu. Prices are slightly above average.


As we walked out of By Harve, we found this pretty place, which is both an office and a cafe. I was very pleased with the sentence of "Less talk, many acts" on the door. This space, which is actually a graphic design agency, turned its entrance into a cafe.


In Balat, rents start from 150-200 TL until 3-4 years ago but now start from 1500 TL. I hope this area protects their naturalness. 

 
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