The 143-year-old “Red School” is waiting for you in all its glory!
If you think that the center of Christianity is the Vatican, which is a city-state inside Rome, let’s say it right away, you are wrong! For a significant part of the Christians living in the world, the center is neither Jerusalem, where this religion started, nor the Vatican in Rome. For them, the center is Istanbul. The most important church of the Eastern Orthodox is the Patriarchate church in Istanbul, in Balat, on the shore of the Golden Horn, which the westerners call the “Golden Horn”. The patriarchal activities carried out in the Apostle Church, Pammakaristos Monastery, Vlah Palace Church, and Ayios Dimitrios Church in the past years have been continuing their activities in the Ayios Yeoryios Monastery in Fener since 1602 and are now managed by Bartholomew I, who is considered the spiritual leader of all Orthodox people.
Here is the Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, which has a school that has been operating since 1454, that is, since the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmet and the declaration of the Ottoman state as the capital. Historically known as “Patriarchate Academy”, “First Academy”, “Mekteb-i Kebir” or more commonly known as “Red School”; The building of this school, which is still in the view of Istanbul with a magnificent view today, where many Greeks from Phanar, Chief Translator, even the Wallachian and Moldavian Beys, the Patriarch and religious officials from many parts of the world, who had served in high positions such as vizier and governorship of the Ottoman Empire, were educated. It was built between 1882 by the architect Konstantinos Dimadis. Architect Dimadis, one of the most important architects of the nineteenth century, had the red fire bricks of the school building specially brought from Marseille. The school building is one of the most magnificent structures of the Golden Horn with its wide and high facade, red bricks and domed tower. The building, which is often thought of as the Fener Greek Patriarchate due to its splendor, still continues its education and activities as «Private Fener Greek Secondary and High School».
This unique building, which must be seen on a trip to Balat, is opened to visitors during bazaar events held on certain days of the year and allows you to see its interior.