Recently, news agencies reported that the Municipality of Istanbul has issued a decision that will be allocated funds for Remo the Bulgarian Orthodox church in Istanbul, St. Stephen's. This is a continuation of the information disclosed three years ago by the newspaper Hurriyet, which declared the church the most beautiful Christian church in the territory of Turkey. The ranking is then made by clergymen, art, sculptures and tour operators. It includes only active Christian churches, including Orthodox, Catholic, Assyrian. Bulgarian Church of St. Stephen's is followed in the rankings of the Catholic Cathedral of Saint Antoine "in 18 century and the Armenian Church Meryemana" of 19 century, also built in the former Ottoman capital. Fourth place in the ranking of the Armenian church occupies the Patriarchate in Istanbul, built in 19 century in a place where several roads were constructed there, burned Christian churches. Fifth comes the Orthodox Church in Antakya Hatay region, southern Turkey, the sixth - the Armenian Church of the Holy Trinity in Istanbul, while the seventh - the Greek Church of St. George, also in Istanbul. Eighth, ninth and tenth positions are occupied by the Greek Orthodox Church Holy Trinity in Istanbul eldanskata "Mar Petyun in Diyarbakir and the Assyrian Church of the Monastery in Mardin Deyryulzafaran dating from the fifth century.
What exactly is the church of St. Stephen's?
The Bulgarian St Stephen Church also known as the Bulgarian Iron Church, is a Bulgarian Orthodox church in Fatih, Istanbul, Turkey, famous for being made of cast iron. The church belongs to the Bulgarian minority in the city. The Bulgarians of the Ottoman Empire used to pray at the churches of the Phanar Orthodox Patriarchy, but due to nationalistic movements, Bulgarians were allowed a national church in the 19th century, the Bulgarian Exarchate.
The richly ornamented church is a three-domed cross-shaped basilica. The altar faces the Golden Horn and a 40 m-high belfry, the six bells of which were cast in Yaroslavl, rises above the narthex. Initially, a small wooden church was erected on the shore of the Golden Horn between Balat and Fener squares (near Eyüp district), where the current church is located. A house was donated by the statesman Stefan Bogoridi and it was reorganized as a wooden church. It was inaugurated on 9 October 1849 and became an important site of the Bulgarian National Revival. The Ottoman royal decree of 28 February 1870 establishing the Bulgarian Exarchate was first read in the church.
After the original wooden structure suffered from a fire, the larger current building was constructed at its place. An iron frame was preferred to concrete reinforcement due to the weak ground conditions. The construction plans were prepared by Hovsep Aznavur, an Armenian of Istanbul origin. An international competition was conducted to produce the prefabricated parts of the church, won by an Austrian company, R. Ph. Waagner. The prefabricated parts, weighing 500 tons, were produced in Vienna in 1893-1896 and transported to Istanbul by ship through the Danube and the Black Sea.
After one and a half years' work, the church was completed in 1898 and inaugurated by Exarch Joseph on 8 September that year. The main skeleton of the church was made of steel and covered by metal boards. All the pieces were attached together with nuts, bolts, rivets or welding. In terms of architecture, the church combines Neo-Gothic and Neo-Baroque influences.
St. Stephen was the product of 19th century experimentation with prefabricated iron churches. The British, who invented corrugated iron in 1829, manufactured portable iron churches to send to far-flung colonies like Australia. The Eiffel Tower's creator, French engineer Gustave Eiffel, designed iron churches that were sent as far as the Philippines and Peru. Now St Stephen is one of the world's few surviving prefabricated cast iron churches.