Renovations on İstanbul church to resume

August 17, 2012, Friday/ 15:19:00/ SEVGİ KORKUT

Renovations on a Bulgarian church in İstanbul will be resumed once a new architect is found following the death of the architect who was leading the initial project.

The architect, Aziz Çakır, who was among the shareholders of the firm ART-ÜN, was leading the renovation of Demir Kilise (the Iron Church), located near the Golden Horn.

Çakır started the renovation project after winning the tender from the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) for the renovation of the church.

However, he died before completing the renovation and the heirs to Çakır's share in the ART-ÜN firm applied to the municipality to cancel the contract for the renovation project.

The inheritors explained that they are not architects, and, thus cannot continue the project.

The İBB cancelled the contract and has begun to search for another company that can continue the renovation.

Demir Kilise was founded when Bulgarian people living under the Ottomans in İstanbul requested a place provided for them to pray separately from members of Greek Orthodox churches.

The Ottomans allowed the building of a church for the Bulgarians. Following this approval, a parsonage was constructed on the area where Demir Kilise stands now.

The parsonage was converted into a wooden church in the following years. Later, Armenian architect Hovsep Aznavur used an iron framework for the reconstruction of the church to prevent it from sinking into the soft ground along the Golden Horn.

The framework of the church was completed in the garden of the firm which provided the materials for its construction. It was soon brought to İstanbul via Danube River and Black Sea.

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