St. Stphen Church of the BulgarsFree: All time

The Church of St. Stephen of the Bulgars is one of the world’s last surviving pre-fabricated cast iron churches. After the original wooden structure suffered from a fire, the decision was to utilize iron instead of concrete due to the weak ground conditions. The casting of the iron actually took place in Vienna. The parts, which weighed 500 tonnes, were shipped down from the Danube to the Black Sea on 100 barges. St. Stephen was the product of 19th century experimentation with pre-fabricated iron churches. The British, who invented corrugated iron, used to manufacture portable iron churches to send to far-flung colonies. Just as the name suggests, the Church of St. Stephen belongs for the Bulgarian community in Istanbul. To visit the church interior, you must find the caretaker, not an easy task as there are no formal visiting hours. Sunday morning, when services are held, may be the best time.

Address: Tahtaminare Mah. Mursel Pasa Cad. No:85 Fener, Fatih | Balat, Istanbul
Direction: Bus 33ES, 90, 44B, 36C, 399B&C from Eminonu; Bus 55T from Taksim
Phone: +90 212 521 1121

Photo credit: Darwinek