Church of St Stephen of the Bulgars


in The Golden Horn

Known as the 'Iron Church', this distinctive Gothic Revival–style building on the Golden Horn has an extremely beautiful interior, with its gilded iron screens, balcony and columns glinting in the hazy light that filters in through stained-glass windows. It looks set to stay that way for years to come after an extensive restoration completed in early 2018.

While these days we're accustomed to kit homes and self-assembled furniture, back in 1871, when this church was constructed from cast-iron pieces shipped down the Danube and across the Black Sea from Vienna on 100 barges, the idea was extremely novel.

The congregation comprises members of the Bulgarian Orthodox Exarchate (Bulgarian Orthodox Church), which broke away from the Greek Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarchate in 1872.