A 19th - century church built by the Bulgarian community in Istanbul was reopened after restoration Sunday in a ceremony attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov.
President Erdogan, speaking at the opening ceremony, said the state was responsible for ensuring that everyone, no matter their beliefs, has the right to practice their religion freely. "Certain bitter memories in history should not be allowed to taint the long history of living side by side, " he said, adding that the government has been working since the beginning to restore the houses of worship of all citizens.
Sveti Stefan, also known as the "Iron Church, " is known as the only church mainly made of iron in the world, and restoration started seven years ago in a project co - funded by Turkey and Bulgaria. The church is located in Balat, a historic neighborhood on the shore of Istanbul's Golden Horn. Speaking to Ihlas News Agency, Vasil Liaze, head of a foundation overseeing the church, said the restoration cost TL 16 million ($4. 3 million) and the Turkish state covered TL 15 million of the budget.
Source: Daily Sabah