A large mosque is being built on the well-known Taksim Square. And as strange as it may sound – the first mosque in the Istiklal and Taksim districts. In Istanbul, you can see several mosques on one street and generally there are about 3000 mosques in the whole city. But in the Istiklal and Taksim districts, you may only see Catholic, Orthodox churches and the others.
We will tell you about the most visited one – St. Antoine Church. It looks directly to Istiklal street, it is impossible not to notice the church when you’re passing by.
We went there for purposefully because it was Christmas time. At this magical time, Catholic churches are decorated with a variety of decorations, if you traveled around Europe in December, you will have noticed this. We reached by using one of the oldest tunnels in the world to Istiklal and then walked towards Taksim for about 15 minutes, the Church was on the right side. You can also get out at Şişhane or Taksim stations and walk about 15 minutes. In General, getting to the location is very easy.
On the territory, there was a Christmas Market. Needlewomen were selling their best handmade things, new unknown stores presented jewelry, as well as products made of leather and other materials. When we got cold, we grabbed hot coffee from the coffee bus and bought ginger cookies for home. There were even a Christmas tree and a presentation of Jesus among the sheep, looking at this miracle, we felt enchanted.
The Church itself was built in the Venetian Neo-Gothic style and designed by the Italian architect Giulio Mongeri. When they were building the church they added two buildings on both sides which they used the same red bricks.
Therefore, the Church is located inside the courtyard between these houses. And to get to the Church from Istiklal street, we passed under an elegant arch. There is another feature of the Church, it is built in the shape of a cross, this can be seen looking at it from above.
Inside of the Church does not differ from other Catholic churches in anything special, all the same benches, the places to put candles, an iconostasis.
Near the iconostasis also was a Christmas tree and an incredible number of Christmas decorations. At the same time, “Carol of the Bells” was playing. Visitors took photos, captured these moments on their phones and in memories. We felt the real spirit of Christmas.
We would recommend everyone to visit St. Antoine Church at Istiklal. It might be easy to reach especially for tourists who are staying at popular locations like Taksim / Istiklal. Also, as we mentioned before, easy to reach by metro. Generally, Istiklal street is a must-visit, as it is an essential cultural center, streets are full of various architectural styles. You can try the best street food, visit museums, catch famous red Taksim tram, watch street singers and music players, there are also special tours with a guide.