Hagia Triada Monastery

Princes’ Islands

Perched above a picturesque line of poplar trees in a spot that has been occupied by a Greek monastery since Byzantine times, this 1896 complex of buildings housed a Greek Orthodox theological school until 1971, when it was closed on the government's orders; the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarchate is waging an ongoing campaign to have it reopened. There's a small 17th-century church with an ornate altar on the site, as well as a library housing many old and rare manuscripts.

The site has a fascinating history. It was home to the Monastery of the Holy Trinity, founded by Partriarch Photius I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, in the 9th century and housed some notable exiles in the Byzantine period, including Saint Theodore Studius, the head priest of the monastery of Saint John Studius in Constantinople, who was exiled here after he criticised Emperor Leon V (813–20) for Iconoclasm. Then, after the assassination of Leon, the emperor's wife Theodora and her daughters were exiled here by the new emperor, Mikhail ll.

To visit the library, you'll need to gain special permission from the abbot, Metropolitan Elpidoforos. A fayton will charge ₺50 to bring you here from the centre of town; tell the driver you want to go to Papaz Okulu.