I stumbled upon this church one Thursday morning, after a satisfying Turkish breakfast of peynir cheese, yoghurt and bread. Apart from a few local passer-bys and waiters smoking at the back of a restaurant, there was no sight of tourists on that street.
The church stood quiet and untouched. Two dogs lay idly at the courtyard and I couldn’t find a comprehensible sign anywhere. I approached one of the waiters and asked if it was okay to enter the church. He nodded and pointed at the open door.
Alone and hesitant, I walked towards it. And as soon as I stepped into the door, I realised that it wasn’t a direct entrance. I was in a room somewhat like an ante-room and immediately received by an old Turkish guard. He was garbed in a black clerical robe and a matching wrinkled smile.
The entrance into the main part of the church was locked and he asked if I wanted to enter. I wasn’t quite certain that his intention was good, but the large anciently-styled skeleton key that he was holding already unlocked the door of my curiosity.
At last, I overcame my fear and agreed to his offer.
Now, look where my curiosity took me!
The interior was truly one to behold. My eyes widened and I let out an indistinct “oh my god“.
This was entirely unexpected. Life-size chandeliers, albeit begrimed, did not fail to add an exquisite touch to the fresco-ed ceiling.
I stood in the middle of the nave, surrounded by Biblical paintings and ecclesiastical pews, the feeling was spectacularly tranquillising and empowering.
This Holy Trinity Church, or Aya Triada Kilisesi, is definitely a gem slightly tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Taksim.
Posing for photos at Taksim Square, nibbling on roasted chestnuts and crowding into all shops marked İndirim (Discount) in İstiklal Caddesi…most tourists did all the above and risked missing out on a view of this beautiful Greek Orthodox church.