Walking Through Kuzguncuk, Istanbul, Turkey

Walking through the cobbled streets of Kuzguncuk

A group of us took a trip to the tiny neighbourhood of Kuzguncuk, on the Asian shore of the Bosphorus. It is such a fascinating area with synagogues, churches, and mosques, built within a stone’s throw of one another; evidence that the area was once a home to a mix of Jews, Greeks, Armenians, and Turks.

We began at the Surp Krior Lusarovich Armenian Orthodox Church (built in 18350). The interior is beautiful, with large oil paintings of the disciples, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photos so you will just have to go to see for yourself.  We asked about services there, and the verger told us that, as he was the only Armenian left in Kuzguncuk, a visiting priest held services on a Wednesday for any of the community who wished to travel there.

From there, we walked through the narrow streets of old, typically Ottoman, houses. 

These houses are so iconic that they are regularly featured in Turkish soaps, 
commercials, and travel magazines (much to the annoyance of the locals).

Of course, we couldn't resist taking photos everywhere we went!

Unbelievably, this realistic looking window, is a stylish piece of wall art in Kuzguncuk!

Behind the fence, there are communal gardens for planting vegetables,
Terre looks surprised to find them there!

In the middle of the plots, there was this plant sculpture. Very cool!

We slogged up a long hill to see the 500 year old Jewish cemetery.

Unfortunately, many of the stones had fallen over and the cemetery looked uncared for,
saved only by the wild flowers that had grown up around them.

On the way down, we visited the Greek Orthodox Church of Hagios Panteleimon

This church was built in 1821 on the site of a church dating back to 550, during the reign of Emperor Justinian. We weren't allowed inside the church, but we did manage to visit the sacred spring, which stands next to the church. It is tiny, but beautiful, with a healing spring inside, and sacred icons on its walls. Unfortunately we couldn't take photos there either, but we did spend time gazing at the icons, and making a wish or two at the sacred spring.

We passed this restaurant. I loved the colourful splash of colour!

After our exploration of Kuzguncuk, we lunched in Ismet Baba, a famous fish restaurant, perched on the edge of the Bosphorus.

The bean starter...

...followed by salad

...and then the fish course

...followed by Turkish tea.

We are so lucky to be living in this fascinating city. We are never short of things to do and places to explore. And, especially, we are never short of wonderful friends to share our experiences with. Every day I wake up happy, and looking forward to the day ahead.

Elizabeth Coughlan


  1. What an amazing neighbourhood and interesting walk you did. I especially liked those wooden houses. Keep walking!

    1. It is amazing, In fact the whole city is amazing, and the longer I am here, the more interesting places I find! I know you have visited before, but don't you think it is time to come back? I know lots of sights you have yet to see in Istanbul. I'll be in Sydney in July. I hope to see you then.


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