Anatolia, where many different civilizations and cultures live, is home to a great deal of important Christian art. Many churches and holy sites have survived to the present day. There are also pilgrimage routes in Anatolia for Christians. Details about the most beautiful works of Christians in Turkey are below.
Where to Visit for a Pilgrimage in Turkey?
The below places attract many Christians for pilgrimage purposes every year:
- Saint George Church (Aya Yorgi): St. Georg (Aya Yorgi) Church in Büyükada welcomes many Christians every year on April 23rd and September 23rd. Recently, the rituals have been followed closely by the media.
- Hatay, Antakya Pierre Church and Monastery: The monastery, which is 2 kilometers away from the city, had been home to the apostles. First, Pope St. Pierre preached here. Also, Christians visit the area between Tarsus and Antakya frequently.
- Akhisar – Thyateira Church: One of the seven holy churches mentioned in the Book of Revelation, Thyateira is in Manisa. It is believed that Apostle Paul and Silas visited this church.
- Saint Tryphonos Church, İznik, Bursa: One of the top destinations for Christians, this is the church Emperor Theodoros II ordered the ancient Saint Martin Tryphonos to build.
- İzmir – Ephesus: It is one of the regions where Virgin Mary lived and is highly popular among Christians. The Church of St. Mary in the ancient city of Ephesus and the Church of Mary are welcomed with great interest.
- İstanbul: Istanbul, which is one of the world’s largest Orthodox centers, is also a pilgrimage site. Hagia Sophia was a church for a period and was converted into a mosque by conquest. Today, however, Christians are showing intense interest.
- Demre – St. Nicholas: Built in AD 520, this church carries the Byzantine structure. The bishop that served here, St. Nicholas, is an important religious figure for Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics, and is also deemed to be the inspiration for Santa Claus.
- Cappadocia: It is a special destination where early Christians designed many churches in underground cities. Especially Karanlık Church and Elmalı Church should be seen.
Churches to be Seen in Istanbul
Istanbul is full of mosques, however it is full of churches as well, especially in the historic peninsula. Located in Fener district, Stefan Bulgarian Church is a very interesting building with its historical structure made of iron. The Catholic Church of Antuan is quite popular for its location. Armenian Virgin Mary Church in Beşiktaş, Kumkapı Armenian Patriarchate, and The Greek Orthodox Church of Aya Triada in Beyoğlu are beautiful in architecture.
Churches in Black Sea Region
Balatlar Church in Sinop is one of the most important Byzantine buildings. It was built in 660. Mater Dolorosa Catholic Church is located in the province of Samsun Ilkadim and is one of the long lasting Catholic works. The Virgin Mary Monastery in Giresun Şebinkarahisar district is a monolithic building from the medieval period. There is also Greek Orthodox Jason Church, situated in Cape Jason in Ordu. This church is dedicated to St. Nicholas.
Churches in Aegean Region
There are many churches in the Aegean and especially in İzmir and its environs. Aya Fotini in Konak, the Protestant Baptist Church in Buca, St. John’s cathedral, Kızlı Church in Bergama, and the Saint Helen Catholic Church in Karşıyaka are among the most popular.
Churches in Mediterranean Region
Hıdırellez Church, which is 10 kilometers away from Alanya, St. Nicholas Church in Antalya Demre, and Bebekli Church and St. Paul Church in Adana are churches in the Mediterranean region that should be visited.
Eastern Anatolian Churches
Oshk Vank (Öşvank) Church in Erzurum was erected for John the Baptist. Kızıl Monastery or Akdamar Church in Van is a 10th century work. Yedi Church in the center of Van is an Armenian structure from the 9th century.
Central Anatolian Churches
We mostly see Catholic works in Central Anatolia. In Ankara, St. Paul’s Church and St. Nicholas Church can be visited. The rock churches in Erdemli and Soğanlı Valley are among the places to be seen in Kayseri. St. Gregorius Church in Aksaray, Kırkdamaltı Church, Karagedik Church, Ağaçaltı Church, and Sümbüllü Church make the region a center of attraction for Christians. Akdağmadeni Church in Yozgat is also one of the important places to see.