Balat is one of the oldest neighborhoods of Istanbul where located by the Golden Horn, on the European side in Fatih district. The name of Balat derives from “palatial,” which means “palace,” a Blaherna Palace built by the Romans. In the 15th century, after the Jews were expelled from Spain and Portugal, Balat became a Jewish quarter. With the order of Sultan Bayezid, the Jews settled in the Balat neighborhood. Balat has many traditional Jewish houses, two or three stories with “cumba,” and synagogues such as; Yanbol and Ahrida. After they had moved to the other districts in Istanbul, there are few Jews who remained in Balat today.
Fener neighborhood, maybe, is the most important place for the Orthodox Christians as the Roman Orthodox Patriarchate is located there since 1601. Fener became a Roman settlement in the 16th century, and some Roman had an important position in the Ottoman administration. During the 20th century, Fener was completely a non-muslim neighborhood where many Roman and Greek mansions were located. Fener neighborhood was abandoned during the exchange population after World War One. After a while, the local people began to live there, and nowadays, Fener has become popular where the movies and tv series are shot because of its authentic atmosphere. It possesses many cozy cafes and colorful streets which are worth visiting.
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