A restored church in Istanbul's Balat district sheds light on a once thriving community of Bulgarians in Ottoman-era Istanbul. A new exhibition at the Bulgarian Metochion, an addition of the Sveti Stefan Church, was inaugurated by Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. The building was recently reopened after lengthy restoration work and the exhibition is the first event to be held in renovated building. Borisov thanked donors and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for Turkey's efforts to restore the historical building to its former glory.
"This was a dilapidated building a few years ago but has now undergone a fine restoration job," he said, expressing gratitude to Erdoğan for honoring his pledge to restore the building. "The Bulgarian community in Istanbul can now feel at home again," Borisov said. He also visited Sveti Stefan Church, which is currently being restored.
The Metochion was built in the 19th century as an addition to the Sveti Stefani Church, but in time, it turned into a community and culture center for the Bulgarian community in Istanbul. The exhibition displays dresses, accessories and other items related to the daily life of Bulgarians in the Ottoman era, along with photographs from the early 20th century. The Metochion, a three-story stone building, was abandoned for years after it was converted into a school, printing house and then a nursing home throughout its history.
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