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Celebrating Easter in Istanbul

on 08/04/2015

Saint-Antoine Church in Istanbul

       Spending the Easter holidays in a multicultural megalopolis such as Istanbul is an interesting experience.

Indeed the Catholic, Protestant and Armenian communities all celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on the Sunday and it is a great opportunity to visit the churches of Istanbul on that occasion. You will certainly find them all full during the celebrations of the Holy Week.

The most attended Catholic places of worship are St Antoine Church, situated on the famous Istiklal Avenue in Beyoglu, and the St Esprit (Holy Spirit) Cathedral located only 15 minutes away from Taksim Square on Cumhuriyet Avenue.

There is a multitude of Armenian churches in Istanbul but the most popular one within the Gregorian Armenian community is undoubtedly the St Marie Cathedral situated on the pretty Sevgi Sokak (Love Street) in Kumkapi. However, one that is more accessible to visitors is Üç Orhan Church located in the fish market in Galatasaray.

As for the Catholic Armenians, they meet in Surp Asdvazaziz Church on Atif Yilmaz Avenue in Beyoglu. This church has the particularity of being open only 4 times a year: during Christmas, Easter, the communions and the Surp Agop Hospital Fete.

The Jewish community celebrate Easter as well on the Saturday but for a tourist it is impossible to enter a synagogue without a special authorization signed by the Chief Rabbinate.

You can also easily cater for all your chocolate needs, especially in the district of Kurtulus where a lot of Greeks and Armenians live and the bakery windows are filled with eggs and bunnies of all colours and sizes.

Do not forget to try the famous Easter brioche (paskalya çöregi) made with mastic gum, a real delight with a unique taste.


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