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Church & Monastery of St George(Aya Yorgi)

Since 1751
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MMonday
10:00 AM - 16:00
TTuesday
10:00 AM - 16:00
WWednesday
10:00 AM - 16:00
FFriday
10:00 AM - 16:00
SSaturday
10:00 AM - 16:00
SSunday
10:00 AM - 16:00

Church & Monastery of St George(Aya Yorgi) is located on the island of Büyükada, one of the group of five islands off the Asian side of Istanbul.  The monastery was founded in the name of St. George, referred to as Aya Yorgi by the Turks and as Aya Yorgo by the Greeks, a venerated Christian martyr also admired as a military saint.  His icon in the church portrays him killing a sea monster with his spear.

Perched on the tranquil 203-meter-high Yücetepe hill, the Church & Monastery of St George(Aya Yorgi) may not overwhelm visitors with architectural grandeur, but it unveils a hidden gem of Istanbul that is well worth the journey. What this Greek Orthodox monastery complex lacks in size, it more than compensates for with breathtaking panoramic views from its terrace, a sight that leaves a lasting impression.

The focal point of this peaceful haven is a modest yet charming church, the lone architectural attraction within the complex. As visitors explore the church’s serene surroundings, they often spend their time at the inviting Yücetepe Kır Gazinosu restaurant, where outdoor tables offer sweeping views of Istanbul and the nearby islands of Yassıada and Sivriada.

To embark on the journey to St. George’s Church & Monastery, start from the ferry and head towards the iconic clock tower at İskele Meydanı (Dock Sq). Follow Recep Koç Sokak to the left, where a vibrant shopping district with budget-friendly eateries awaits. Veer right onto 23 Nisan Caddesi, and proceed along Çankaya Caddesi, gradually ascending the hill that leads to the monastery. When you reach a fork in the road, continue rightward.

The picturesque walk, spanning at least an hour, will lead you past an enchanting array of wooden villas nestled in gardens. About 40 minutes into your journey, you’ll encounter a local landmark known as ‘Luna Park.’ From this point, the monastery awaits with a 25-minute trek up an exceptionally steep hill. As you ascend, you’ll notice pieces of cloth tied to tree branches along the path—each cloth represents a prayer, predominantly made by female supplicants visiting the monastery to seek blessings for a child.

Every year, on the 23rd of April, this serene hill becomes a pilgrimage site for thousands of devotees, both Greek Orthodox and Muslim, who gather to pay homage to St. George. The harmonious coexistence of different faiths in this sacred space is a testament to Istanbul’s rich tapestry of cultures and traditions.

Visiting the Church & Monastery of St George(Aya Yorgi) not only rewards travelers with serene solitude but also offers a unique vantage point to admire the city’s skyline, the glimmering waters of the Bosphorus, and the tranquil islands. It’s a pilgrimage of sorts for those seeking both spiritual and visual enlightenment.

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GPS
Büyükada-nizam, Insel Büyükada, 34970 Adalar/İstanbul

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