Many areas of vast Istanbul are open-air attractions in their own right. Some of them are famous for their food, others for an abundance of shops, and others attract tourists with their unusual architecture. Just one of the latter can be attributed to Istanbul's Balat district, one of the most popular places to create unusual vacation photos.
How to get there
Balat is located on the shore of the Golden Horn Bay. If you are heading here by public transport, the easiest way to do this is by tram. The T5 branch passes here, the stop is called Balat.
Going here for a walk, you should take into account the peculiarities of the city's relief. If you start the route from the tram, then frequent uphills await you.
History of the place
The original inhabitants of Balat are Jews from Macedonia. Today, there are very few representatives of this people left here, they were replaced by emigrants from the eastern part of Turkey. On the Internet, I came across information that Balat is one of the most dangerous areas of Istanbul. In my opinion, in terms of security, it is not much different from other parts of the city center. During the day, a huge number of tourists walk here, children play on the streets, shops and souvenir shops are open in the houses.
The name of the district comes from the Greek word palation. It means "palace". The name appeared due to the proximity of the area to the Blachernae Palace.
The main feature of the district is its colorful houses. This is a favorite setting for unusual tourist photos for many visitors to Istanbul. Bright buildings are replaced by dilapidated abandoned buildings, this creates a very special atmosphere here. In 1985, Balat, along with other Istanbul districts, was included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Walking along Balat, you can find several religious buildings. Here are the Bulgarian Church of St. Stephen, the building of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Church of Mary of Mongolia, many mosques.
Parallel to the coast of the Golden Horn, Vodina Street stretches. It has many cozy cafes and restaurants. In the literature about Istanbul, you can find mention, for example, of the Agora pub, which has been operating here for more than 130 years. The address of the establishment is Balat Murselpasa cd. No:185. Another place that I personally would recommend to travelers who go here is the Maremosso coffee shop (Leblebiciler sok. No: 40).
After walking around this interesting area, you can, for example, take a ride on the Eyupsultan cable car and look at beautiful Istanbul from above. It is located very close, you can get there on the same tram that went to Balat.
Have a nice trip!