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SVETI STEFAN CHURCH REOPENED AFTER RESTORATION

SVETI STEFAN CHURCH REOPENED AFTER RESTORATION The Sveti Stefan Church, one of the most important structures of the Bulgarian Orthodox community all over the world, was reopened with a ceremony after seven years of restoration. The opening ceremony of the Sveti Stefan Church, which stands alongside the Golden Horn between Fener and Balat districts, was attended by a large number of guests, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov

In the present place of the Sveti Stefan Church was once a wooden church. Sultan Abdülaziz's edict on 28 February 1870, a document that first recognized the Bulgarian Orthodox in the Ottoman Empire as a separate religious community, was also read there. After the wooden church had been demolished in a fire in 1898, at its place, the Sveti Stefani Church was built, completely from iron. Also known as the Iron Church due to this feature, its iron parts weighing 500 tons in total were cast in Vienna. Rudolf Von Wagner, the manufacturer of the parts, installed the church at the factory garden for the Bulgarian commission visiting Vienna and after the commission's approval, the parts were disassembled and brought to Istanbul with ships via the Black Sea and Danube. The church, built by reassembling pieces one by one in Istanbul, was opened on 20 September 1898.

The Sveti Stefan Church, the first prefabricated building constructed in Turkey, also carries the distinction of being the only iron church in the world. Previously there were two iron churches in Argentina and Austria, but when the two were demolished over time, the Sveti Stefan Church remained the only example of its kind in the world.

The restoration of the Iron Church started seven years ago and cost 16 million TL. 15 million TL of the budget was met by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, while 1 million TL was provided by the Bulgarian government.

A source of pride for the Bulgarian Orthodox community, as well as for Istanbul, the Iron Church had been visited by 3,000 people a month, before it was closed. Now that the restoration is finished and the church is reopened, it is expected to exceed 5,000 visitors monthly.