Religion in Istanbul: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism


Istanbul was the last seat of the Islamic Caliphate, from 1517 to 1924, when the Caliphate was broken up and its forces were given over to the Turkish Parliament. The seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople, a profound pioneer of the Eastern Orthodox Church since the fourth century AD, is situated in the Fener (Phanar) area. Additionally situated in Istanbul are the diocese supervisor of the Turkish Orthodox Church, the Armenian Patriarchate, and the Turkish Chief Rabbi (Hahambasi). Istanbul was once in the past likewise the seat of the Bulgarian Exarchate, before its autocephaly was perceived by other Orthodox houses of worship. In this article, we will talk about religion in Istanbul, their histories and churches, synagogues, and mosques in Istanbul. Keep reading!

As indicated by the 2000 evaluation, there were 2691 dynamic mosques, 123 dynamic houses of worship and 20 dynamic synagogues in Istanbul; just as 109 Muslim graveyards and 57 non-Muslim cemeteries. Religious minorities incorporate Greek Orthodox Christians, Armenian Christians, Catholic Levantines and Sephardic Jews. A few neighborhoods have been known with their sizeable populaces of these ethnic gatherings, for example, the Kumkapı neighborhood, which had a huge Armenian populace, the Balat neighborhood, which used to have a sizeable Jewish populace, the Fener neighborhood with a huge Greek populace, and a few neighborhoods in Nişantaşı and Pera, which had sizeable Levantine populaces. In certain quarters, for example, Ortaköy or Kuzguncuk, an Armenian church sits alongside a synagogue, and on the opposite roadside, a Greek Orthodox church is found next to a mosque.



Islam in Istanbul

The urban scene of Istanbul is molded by numerous networks. The most crowded significant religion is Islam. The primary mosque in Istanbul was worked in Kadıköy (antiquated Chalcedon) on the Asian side of the city, which was vanquished by the Ottoman Turks in 1353, an entire century before the success of Constantinople over the Bosphorus, on the European side. The primary mosque on the European side of Istanbul was worked inside the Rumelian Castle in 1452.

The principal excellent mosque which was worked in the city appropriate is the Eyüp Sultan Mosque (1458), while the main magnificent mosque inside the city dividers was the Fatih Mosque (1470) which was based on the site of the Church of the Holy Apostles, a significant Byzantine church which was initially edifice in the hour of Constantine the Great. Numerous other royal mosques were worked in the next hundreds of years, for example, the popular Süleymaniye Mosque (1557) which was requested by Suleiman the

Magnificent and structured by the incomparable Ottoman designer Mimar Sinan, and the celebrated Sultan Ahmed Mosque (1616) which is otherwise called the “Blue Mosque” for the blue tiles which decorate its inside. Istanbul was the seat of the Islamic Caliphate, somewhere in the range of 1517 and 1924. A portion of the individual things of Muhammad and the most punctual caliphs who tailed him are today saved in the Topkapı Palace, the Eyüp Sultan Mosque and a few other conspicuous mosques of Istanbul.



The triumph of the Byzantine capital of Constantinople in 1453 empowered the Ottomans to merge their realm in Anatolia and Thrace. The Ottomans later resuscitated the title of caliph during the rule of Sultan Selim. Despite the nonattendance of a formal institutional structure, Sunni strict functionaries assumed a significant political job. Equity was administered by strict courts; in principle, the arranged arrangement of sharia directed all parts of life, at any rate for the Muslim subjects of the realm. The leader of the legal executive positioned straightforwardly beneath the sultan and was second in power just to the amazing vizier.

From the get-go in the Ottoman time frame, the workplace of terrific mufti of Istanbul advanced into that of Sheik ul-Islam (shaykh, or a pioneer of Islam), which had extreme locale over all the courts in the domain and therefore practiced authority over the translation and utilization of sharia. Legitimate suppositions articulated by the Sheik were viewed as complete translations.

Christianity in Istanbul

The city has been the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate since the fourth century AD, and keeps on filling in as the seat of some other Orthodox houses of worship, for example, the Turkish Orthodox Church and the Armenian Patriarchate. The city was once in the past likewise the seat of the Bulgarian Exarchate, before its autocephaly was perceived by other Orthodox houses of worship.

Following the Turkish success of Constantinople in 1453, the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II built up the Millet System, as indicated by which the diverse ethnic gatherings inside Constantinople and the remainder of the Ottoman Empire were to be represented by a gathering of organizations dependent on trust. For this reason, Mehmed II additionally established beforehand non-existent strict specialists, for example, the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1461. Prior, the Byzantines thought about the Armenian Church as an apostate and didn’t permit the Armenians to have chapels inside the dividers of Constantinople.



A few Armenian holy people, for example, Saint Narses, were banished and detained in the Princes’ Islands close to Constantinople, in the Sea of Marmara. With the Millet System, a lot of the inward issues in regards to these networks were doled out to the organization of these strict specialists, for example, the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the issues of every Orthodox Christian, the Armenian Patriarchate for the issues of the Armenian (and for quite a while additionally the Syriac) Christians, and later the Chief Rabbi for the undertakings of the Jews.

The regular daily existence of the Christians, especially the Greeks and Armenians, living in Istanbul changed essentially following the unpleasant clashes between these ethnic gatherings and the Turks during the Decline of the Ottoman Empire, which started during the 1820s and proceeded for a century. The contentions arrived at their finish in the decade somewhere in the range of 1912 and 1922; during the Balkan Wars, the First World War and the Turkish War of Independence. The city’s Greek Orthodox people group was absolved from the populace trade among Greece and Turkey in 1923 after the foundation of the Turkish Republic.

Nonetheless, a progression of uncommon limitations and assessments during the long periods of the Second World War (see, e.g., the riches charge Varlık Vergisi), and the Istanbul Pogrom of 1955 which caused the passings of 15 Greeks and the injury of 32 others, enormously expanded migration from Istanbul to Greece. In 1964, all Greeks without Turkish citizenship dwelling in Turkey (around 12,000) were extradited. Today, the majority of Turkey’s staying Greek and Armenian minorities live in or then again close to Istanbul. The quantity of the Armenians in Istanbul today adds up to around 40,000, while the Greek people group added up to somewhat more than 2,000 toward the start of the 21st century.



Close to the generally Catholic Levantines, who are the relatives of European (Genoese, Venetian, and French) merchants who built up exchanging stations during the Byzantine and Ottoman time frames, there is additionally a little, dissipated number of Bosphorus Germans. Various spots reflect past developments of various networks into Istanbul, most quite Arnavutköy (Albanian town), Polonezköy (Polish town) and Yenibosna (New Bosnia).

There were more than 40,000 Catholic Italians in Istanbul at the turn of the twentieth century, a figure which not just incorporated the relatives of the neighborhood Genoese and Venetian traders who lived here since the Byzantine and early Ottoman time frames, yet besides the various Italian laborers and craftsmen who went to the city from Italy during the nineteenth century. Giuseppe Garibaldi and Giuseppe Mazzini came to Constantinople in 1832, and again in 1833.

Garibaldi lived in Beyoğlu and showed Italian, French, and Mathematics in the outside schools of this locale. Garibaldi likewise settled the Società Operaia Italiana di Mutuo Soccorso on May 17, 1863, in Beyoğlu, and turned into its first President (Mazzini was the second President). The Società Operaia Italiana di Mutuo Soccorso is as yet dynamic and is situated in its unique site, on a side road of Istiklal Avenue. The quantity of Istanbul’s Italians diminished after the finish of the Ottoman Empire for a few reasons.

The Turkish Republic never again perceived the exchange benefits that were given to the relatives of the Genoese and Venetian traders, and outsiders were never again permitted to work in Turkey in a wide number of segments, including numerous artisanship, where various Istanbulite Italians used to work. The Varlık Vergisi (Wealth Tax) of the World War II years, which forced higher levies on non-Muslims and outsiders in Turkey, additionally assumed a significant job in the relocation of Istanbul’s Italians to Italy—who despite everything live in the city, yet in far fewer numbers when contrasted and the mid-twentieth century.

The impact of the Italian people group of Istanbul, be that as it may, is as yet noticeable in the design of numerous quarters, especially Galata, Beyoğlu and Nişantaşı.



Judaism in Istanbul

The Sephardic Jews have lived in the city for more than 500 years, see the historical backdrop of the Jews in Turkey. The Sephardic Jews contributed a lot to the rising intensity of the Ottoman Empire by presenting new thoughts, strategies, and craftsmanship. The primary Gutenberg press in Istanbul was set up by the Sephardic Jews in 1493, who exceeded expectations in numerous regions, especially medication, exchange, and banking. The Camondo family was profoundly persuasive in the Ottoman financial area. The acclaimed Camondo Stairs on the Bankalar Caddesi (Banks Street) in Karaköy (Galata) was worked by them. More than 20,000 Sephardic Jews despite everything stay in Istanbul today.

Romaniotes and Ashkenazi Jews dwelled in Istanbul even before the Sephardim, however, their extent has since dwindled; today, only 1 percent of Istanbul’s Jews are Ashkenazi. The Avusturya Sinagogu (Austrian Synagogue), otherwise called the Aşkenaz Synagogue (Ashkenazi Synagogue) is one of the most acclaimed synagogues in Istanbul and stands apart with its intriguing engineering. A flood of Ashkenazi Jews came to Istanbul during the 1930s and 1940s after the ascent of Nazism in Germany which aggrieved the Ashkenazi Jews of focal and eastern Europe.

Today, a sum of 20 dynamic synagogues are to be found in the city, the most significant of them being the Neve Shalom Synagogue initiated in 1951, in the Beyoğlu quarter. The Turkish Grand Rabbi in Istanbul (as of now Ishak Haleva) manages network issues. An abatement in the number of inhabitants in the city’s Jewish people group happened after the autonomy of the State of Israel in 1948, however, the Turkish Jews who relocated to that nation assisted with setting up solid connections among Turkey and Israel.

The originators of the State of Israel and noticeable Israeli government officials, for example, David Ben-Gurion, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, and Moshe Shertok had all concentrated in the main Turkish schools of Istanbul in their childhood, in particular, Galatasaray High School and Istanbul University.



Churchs of Istanbul

  • Chora Church (Dervişali, Kariye Cami Sk. No:18, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Church of Christ Pantepoptes ( Cibali, Parmaklık Sk., 34083 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Crimea Memorial Church (Şahkulu, Serdar-ı Ekrem Cd. No:52, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul)
  • Church of San Domenico (Azapkapı, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul)
  • Church of St Euphemia (Binbirdirek, Mehmet Akif Ersoy Parkı, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Monastery of Gastria (Kocamustafapaşa, Teberdar Sk. No:11, 34098 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Church of Saint John the Baptist at Lips (Akşemseddin Mh., Adnan Menderes Blv., 34091 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Church of Saint John the Baptist at Stoudios (Yedikule, İmam Aşir Sok. No:1, 34107 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Church of Saint John the Baptist en to Trullo (Balat, Koltukçu Sk. No:4, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Martyrion of Hagios Karpos and Papylos (Kocamustafapaşa, Bestekar Hakkı Sk. No:1, 34098 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Church of Living Water (Cumhuriyet, Bilgiç Sk. No:11/B, 34380 Şişli/İstanbul)
  • Church of St. Mary of Constantinople (Ayvansaray, Kuytu Sk., 34087 Fatih/İstanbul)


  • Church of San Paolo (Bereketzade, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul)
  • Hagia Sophia (Sultan Ahmet, Ayasofya Meydanı No:1, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Bulgarian St. Stephen Church (Balat, Mürselpaşa Cd. No:10, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Church of Hagios Theodoros (Hoca Gıyasettin, Vefa Caddesi Tirendaz Sokak, 34134 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Church of Hagias Theodosias en tois Dexiokratus (Yavuz Sultan Selim, Vakıf Mektebi Sk. No:16, 34083 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Church of the Theotokos at Lips (Akşemseddin Mh., Adnan Menderes Blv., 34091 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Church of the Theotokos Eleousa (Zeyrek, İbadethane Sk. No:2, 34083 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Church of the Theotokos Kyriotissa (Kalenderhane, 16 Mart Şehitleri Cd. No:11, 34134 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • The Union Church of Istanbul (İstiklal Mahallesi, İstiklal Caddesi, Postacılar Sokak, 34440 Beyoğlu/İstanbul)

Synagogue of Istanbul

  • Ahrida Synagogue of Istanbul (Ayvansaray, Kürkçü Çeşmesi Sk. No:9, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Ashkenazi Synagogue of Istanbul (Müeyyedzade, Yüksek Kaldırım Cd. No:31, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul)
  • Bakırköy Synagogue (Zeytinlik, Cumhuriyetçi Sk. No:4, 34140 Bakırköy/İstanbul)
  • Bet Avraam Synagogue (Hoca Paşa, İstasyon Arkası Sk. No:23, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Bet Nissim Synagogue (Kuzguncuk, İcadiye Cd., 34674 Üsküdar/İstanbul)
  • Bet Yaakov Synagogue (Heybeliada, Orhan Sk. No:8, 34973 Adalar/İstanbul)
  • Caddebostan Synagogue (Rasimpaşa, İzzettin Sk. No:61, 34716 Kadıköy/İstanbul)
  • Etz Ahayim Synagogue (Ortaköy, Europe TR, Muallim Naci Cd. No:6, 34347 Beşiktaş)
  • Hemdat Israel Synagogue (Kadıköy, İstanbul)
  • Hesed Le Avraam Synagogue (Büyükada-maden, Pancur Sk. No:15, 34970 Adalar/Asia)
  • Italian Synagogue (Bereketzade, Şair Ziya Paşa Cd. No:23, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul)
  • Jewish Museum of Turkey (Bereketzade, Büyük Hendek Cd. No:39, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul)
  • Kal Kados, Corapci Han Synagogue (Sirkeci, İstanbul)
  • Karaite Synagogue (Piri Paşa, Hasköy Cd., 34445 Beyoğlu/İstanbul)
  • Maalem Synagogue (Keçeci Piri, Harap Çeşme Sk. No:20, 34445 Beyoğlu/İstanbul)
  • Neve Shalom Synagogue (Bereketzade, Büyük Hendek Cd. No:39, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul)
  • Yanbol Synagogue (Ayvansaray, Lavanta Sk. No:7, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Yeniköy Synagogue (Yeniköy, Köybaşı Caddesi cad no;132, 34464 Sarıyer/İstanbul)


Mosques of Istanbul

  • Altunizade Mosque, 1865 (Altunizade, Altunizade Cami, 34662 Üsküdar/İstanbul)
  • Atik Valide Mosque, 1583 (Validei Atik, Toptaşı Meydan Sk. No:1, 34664 Üsküdar/İstanbul)
  • Bayezid II Mosque, 1506 (Beyazıt, Yeniçeriler Cd., 34126 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Burmalı Mescit Mosque (Kalenderhane, Islah Sk. No:19, 34134 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Dolmabahçe Mosque, 1855 (Ömer Avni, Meclis-i Mebusan Cd. No:34, 34427 Beyoğlu/İstanbul)
  • Emirgan Mosque, 1781 (Emirgan, Doğru Muvakkithane Cd. No:3, 34467 Sarıyer/İstanbul)
  • Eyüp Sultan Mosque, 1458 (Merkez Mh, Cami Kebir Sk. No:1, 34050 Eyüp/İstanbul)
  • Fatih Mosque, 1470 (Ali Kuşçu, Hattat Nafiz Cd No:6, 34083, 34083 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Firuz Ağa Mosque, 1491 (Binbirdirek, Divan Yolu Cd., 34122 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Hadim Ibrahim Pasha Mosque, 1551 (Silivrikapı, Silivrikapı Cd. No:125, 34107 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Handan Agha Mosque, 15th century (Camiikebir, 34440 Beyoğlu/İstanbul)
  • Haseki Sultan Mosque, 1539 (Cerrah Paşa Mh., 34096 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Kara Ahmet Pasha Mosque, 1572 (Topkapı, Bican Bağcıoğlu Ykş. No:32, 34093 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Kılıç Ali Pasha Complex, 1580 (Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Kemeraltı Cd. No:50, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul)
  • Kırmızı Minare Mosque, probably 1591 (Piri Paşa, Kırmızı Minare Sk. No:11, 34445 Beyoğlu/İstanbul)


  • Küçük Mecidiye Mosque, 1843 (Yıldız, Çırağan Cd. No:87, 34349 Beşiktaş/İstanbul)
  • Laleli Mosque, 1783 (Kemal Paşa, Ordu Cd., 34134 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Mahmut Pasha Mosque, Eminönü, 1463 (Mollafenari, Vezirhan Cd. No:100, 34120 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Mesih Mehmed Paşa Mosque, 1585 (Hırka-i Şerif, Prof. Naci Şensoy Cd. 22 A, 34091 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Mihrimah Mosque, 1565 (Karagümrük, 34091 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Mihrimah Sultan Mosque (Üsküdar), 1548 (Mimar Sinan, 34664 Üsküdar/İstanbul)
  • Molla Çelebi Mosque, 1584 (Ömer Avni, Meclis-i Mebusan Cd. No:26, 34427 Beyoğlu/İstanbul)
  • Muhammad Maarifi Mosque, 1818 ( Kordonboyu, Ankara Cd. No:85, 34860 Kartal/İstanbul)
  • Murat Pasha Mosque, Aksaray, 1471 (Molla Gürani, Adnan Menderes Blv. No:1, 34093 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • New Mosque (Istanbul), 1665 (Rüstem Paşa, Yeni Cami Cd. No:3, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Nuruosmaniye Mosque, 1755 (Mollafenari, Vezirhan Cd. No:4, 34120 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Nusretiye Mosque, 1826 (Kılıçali Paşa, Meclis-i Mebusan Cd., 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul)
  • Ortaköy Mosque, 1856 (Mecidiye, Mecidiye Köprüsü Sk. No:1 D:1, 34347 Beşiktaş/İstanbul)
  • Pertevniyal Valide Sultan Mosque, 1872 (İskenderpaşa, Atatürk Blv. No:3, 34080 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Piri Mehmed Pasha Mosque, 1530–31 (Piri Mehmet Paşa, 34594 Silivri/İstanbul)
  • Rüstem Pasha Mosque, 1563 (Rüstem Paşa, Hasırcılar Cd. No:62, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul)


  • Şehzade Mosque, 1548 (Kalenderhane, Şehzadebaşı Cd. No:44, 34134 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Şemsi Pasha Mosque, 1581 (Mimarsinan Mh., 34664 Üsküdar/İstanbul)
  • Sinan Pasha Mosque (Istanbul), 1555 (Sinanpaşa, Beşiktaş Cd. No:43, 34353 Beşiktaş/İstanbul)
  • Sokollu Mehmet Pasha Mosque, 1572 (Küçük Ayasofya Mahallesi, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Süleymaniye Mosque, 1558 (Süleymaniye Mah, Prof. Sıddık Sami Onar Cd. No:1, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Sultan Ahmed Mosque, 1616 (Sultan Ahmet, Atmeydanı Cd. No:7, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Teşvikiye Mosque, 1794 (Teşvikiye Mah., 34365 Teşvikiye /Şişli/Şişli/İstanbul)
  • Yavuz Selim Mosque, 1527/28 (Balat, Sultan Selim Cd. No:18, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul)
  • Yeni Valide Mosque, 1710 (Mimar Sinan, 34664 Üsküdar/İstanbul)
  • Yıldız Hamidiye Mosque, 1886 (Cihannüma, Serencebey Ykş. No:63, 34353 Beşiktaş/İstanbul)
  • Zal Mahmud Pasha Mosque, 1577 (Nişanca, Zalpaşa Cd. No:43, 34050 Eyüp/İstanbul)

Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I love Istanbul. I have been to 10 different countries. Istanbul is in the top 3 cities. I like to play soccer too :)

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