Turkey is a very historical country with every nook and corner of the country having a story to tell. The most well-known history of Turkey is about the Ottoman Empire. However, there is more to the country than that. Christianity, for instance, has a long history in Turkey and it stretches to even before the arrival of the Ottomans.
The city of Byzantium, better known as Constantinople was once the hub of Christianity. When the Ottomans took over Constantinople, its name was changed to what is now known as Istanbul.
The Historical Facts About Churches in Istanbul
Christianity is the second-largest followed religion in Turkey after Islam. Among the 80 million population, around 190,000 follow Christianity. There are quite a number of Churches in Turkey. Most of the historical Churches belong to Armenian Orthodox Christians, Chaldean Catholics, Syrian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox. Since the year 1923, two churches are recognized by the government of Turkey and they are the Greek Orthodox Church and the Armenian Orthodox Church. Almost 70 per cent of Turkish-Christians belong to these two groups. Istanbul Protestant Church, which is the first and only official protestant church in Turkey was given recognition in the year 2000.
Christian communities are spread all over Turkey but the majority reside in Istanbul and Antakya. The secularity of the state means that there is harmonious and peaceful co-existence of people of all religions within the country. Christians along with Muslims and Jews reside side by side and identify themselves as Turks first than belonging to a particular religion.
Turkey-A Unique Country Filled with Surprises
If you follow the history of Christianity closely or if it fascinates you, Turkey should be a must-visit for you. Most people consider Turkey to be an Islamic state and thereby never consider this side of its history. However, Turkey is a secular country and its rich history is as interesting as the country itself. Visit it for its history or for its natural beauty, you will surely return with more than you went in looking for.