Istanbul’s Colorful District: Balat

Tuğçe Şen Baş, a.k.a. @bakmadangezme, one of Istanbul’s locals, wrote about the old district of Istanbul, Balat, for you.

Istanbul has always excited me since my childhood. I guess it might be the effect of having my first flight here when I was in elementary school.

I traveled and saw all over this city. There have been places I have enjoyed again and again without getting bored. Here Balat is one of them. You may feel like Istanbul as your home and Balat as your garden.

When you type “Balat” in the Google Maps application search bar, it will lead you in the right direction anyway. As the streets are narrow, you may have some trouble in parking your car. However, there are also car-parks in the area.

Here is the beautiful Balat list I’ve prepared for you.

1. Merdivenli Yokuş (Slope with Stairs) – Phanar Houses

When it comes to colorful houses, this is the first place that comes to mind. This place, which you can reach by climbing a little bit, will fascinate you.

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2. Kiremit Street Houses

Of course, colorful houses are not only on Merdivenli Yokuş. We also shouldn’t forget the houses lined up side by side on Kiremit Street.

3. Cennet (Heaven) Neighborhood – Fener Külhanı Street

In addition to its colorful houses, we shouldn’t forget to add the street, which become the subject of lots of famous Turkish TV series with its brick houses where our sis Pembe’ house from the TV series Cennet Mahallesi is located.

4. Camcı Çeşmeci Yokuşu (Glassman Fountain Slope) – Colorful Doors

If you love not only colorful houses but also colorful doors, colorful doors lined side by side on this slope will welcome you.

5. Gemi Ev (Ship House)

There is also Balat’s famous Ship House. When you take a picture from above the slope, a ship image is created. If you want to take a picture without people in the background, you may have to wait a lot, like me.

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6. Surp Hreşdagabed Armenian Church


In its 600-year history, it has been destroyed by fire many times and has been rebuilt over and over again. I think you must see it.

7. Church of St. Mary of the Mongols

It is the only church from the Byzantine period, protected by the sultan’s decree by not turning it into a mosque. We could not enter because it was closed. I hope you get lucky and you can go inside and see the protected sultan’s decree.

8. Phanar Greek Orthodox College


I want to correct the misinformation of many people. While adding location in social media, everyone adds this place as “Greek Patriarchate”, and Google does not correct it. Friends, the correct name of this place is “Private Phanar Greek High School and Secondary School”.

9. İncir Ağacı (Fig Tree) Cafe and Balat Antik Cafe


The İncir Ağacı Cafe with its colorful stairs and the Balat Antique Café, famous for its colorful umbrellas, have become the most frequently visited places for photographers. You can also have a pleasant time in these two cafes located side by side.

10. Nest Cafe


I discovered this cafe run by a couple named Elif and Vural when I saw Elif’s sweet smile while taking a photo. You can enjoy coffee on the sand in this authentic cafe, which has great music and a warm atmosphere. You can try the famous flatbread toast and drink some of Vural’s wonderful handmade lemonade.

11. Agora Tavern

Agora Tavern, one of the oldest taverns in Istanbul, is among my favorite places. I definitely recommend it to those who love tavern culture with its nostalgic atmosphere and delicious appetizers.

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