Istanbul’s Forged Iron Church

Istanbul’s Cast Iron Church


Though it seems to be like stone, the Bulgarian St. Stephen Church with its richly ornamented façade on the shores of the Golden Horn in Istanbul, Turkey, is fabricated from iron. It was forged in Vienna, floated down the Danube and throughout the Black Sea on barges, and bolted collectively right here in Istanbul in 1871. It’s presumably the most important prefabricated forged iron construction on this planet.

The Bulgarian St. Stephen Church in Istanbul is the most important prefabricated forged iron construction on this planet. Picture: Daphnusia | Dreamstime.com

The Bulgarian St. Stephen Church was the end result of a virtually century-long wrestle for an unbiased Bulgarian church, which begun late within the 18th century. Many Bulgarian dioceses had been discontent with the supremacy of the Greek clergy—the Bulgarian Orthodox Church being totally subordinated to the Patriarch of Constantinople. Ranging from the 1850s the Bulgarians initiated a purposeful wrestle in opposition to the Greek clerics, demanding their substitute with Bulgarian ones. So as to ease stress, the Ottoman Sultan Abdülaziz granted the fitting to ascertain an autonomous Bulgarian Exarchate for the dioceses of Bulgaria in 1870.

Initially, an picket church stood on the shore of the Golden Horn between Balat and Fener squares, the place the present church is positioned. After this church burnt down, the iron church was constructed as an alternative. Iron was chosen in lieu of concrete due to the weak floor situations. The development plans had been ready by the Istanbul-based Ottoman Armenian architect Hovsep Aznavur.

Bulgarian St. Stephen Church

Picture: Resul Muslu | Dreamstime.com

Bulgarian St. Stephen Church

The inside of Bulgarian St. Stephen Church. Picture: Fahrettin Ozcan | Dreamstime.com

Bulgarian St. Stephen Church

Picture: Evren Kalinbacak | Dreamstime.com

A global competitors was performed to supply the prefabricated forged iron elements of the church, received by an Austrian firm, R. Ph. Waagner. The prefabricated parts, weighing 500 tons, had been produced in Vienna in 1893 to 1896 and transported to Istanbul by ship by means of the Danube and the Black Sea.

The Bulgarian St. Stephen Church wasn’t the primary prefabricated forged iron church, nevertheless it was definitely the most important. Within the mid-Nineteenth century, the UK shipped tons of of corrugated iron sheet church buildings, referred to as Tin Tabernacles, to their colonies all around the globe. These church buildings had been initially costly, costing greater than £2,000 for 500 seats, however they may very well be simply erected. Ultimately, economies of scale decreased their value to lower than 1 / 4 in the direction of the top of the century. Many of those church buildings survive to this present day.

Tin Tabernacle in Ballywillin

Tin Tabernacle in Ballywillin. Picture: Nick/Flickr

Tin tabernacle at Sandling, Kent.

Tin tabernacle at Sandling, Kent. Picture: Glen/Flickr



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