Istanbul Travel Guide

St. Mary of the Mongols Church

  • The Church of St. Mary of the Mongols

  • Maria of Mongols

  • Interior of the church

  • Maria of Mongols spent rest of her life in this church

This church has an interesting story behind it. Situated in Balat of the Golden Horn area behind the Ortodox Patriarchate. The Church is known to have been built around the 10th century. But it was rebuilt in 13th century by Princess Maria, the daughter of the Emparor VII Mikhail Palaiologos. Maria was sent to Iran in 1265 bye her father to be maried to the Mongoluan Khan named Hulagu, who died before she reached Mongolia.

Bride of Mongolia
Maria married the crown Prince Abaka. Fifteen years Maria influenced many people including the Khan to convert to Christianty. After Abaka was assasinated by his brother, she returned to Constantinopole. She had the church rebuilt with a monastry aside and dedicated both of them to the Saint ‘Theokos Panaghiotissa’. She spent rest of her life here.

The church was originally quatrefoil in plan internally and trefoil externally. That is the small central dome on high drum wab surrounded by the four half domes along the axes.

Useful Information for St. Mary of the Mongols Church

Address Balat Mah. Tevkii Cafer Mektebi Sok., Fener, Istanbul
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