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Churches, Houses of Worship, Urban Monasteries    EN

History of churches

*Ph.D. (Lecturer),  University of Sinop, Sinop, Turkey

Paul of Aleppo, in his bookThe Travels of Macarius: Patriarch of Antioch writtenbetween the years 1654-166, gave information about the Christian residential areas and churches in Sinop in the second half of the 17th century. According to the information given by the author, there were 7 churches in the Christian neighborhoods outside the city walls. These churches are Constantine and Helena, The Entrance of Our Lady into the Temple and The Annunciation, St. Nicolas, St. John the Baptist, and the Martyr Theodorus of Thyron and St. Kvgıazn on the coastline and St. John the Divine which isfrom the Antiquity and which has a big dome. According to the information by Paul of Aleppo, the oldest church in the city is St. John the Divine. In addition, there was a church of Armenians who had a small population in the city at the time. The church was rented from the Greeks by the Armenian community [1]. Per Minas Bıjışkyan, who travelled the whole Black Sea coast between the years 1817-1819, confirms this information by Paul of Aleppo. Bıjışkyan mentions the presence of a church of Armenian community at the beginning of the 19th century [2].

One of the churches in Sinop in the 19th century is known as Balatlar Church or Mitridates Palace in literature. This church was inside the Balatlar Building Group from the Late Roman-Early Byzantine period. From the 4th century to the 20th century, this building group was used for different functions depending on the changes it underwent and one of the buildings was used as church after the 17th century. Balatlar Church, which was one of the important churches in the center of Sinop in 19th century, has two big spaces attached to each other in the shape of a cross and a very big hall in the shape of a rectangle. The walls of this Eastern Orthodox Church were cemented in the late period and it was painted with frescos [3].

According to 1889 Kastamonu Yearbook, there were 15 Eastern churches in Sinop at the end of the 19th century. However, the names and areas of these churches were not specified in the related archive [4]. In 1903, there were 6 churches and monasteries in the center of Sinop [5].

Today, there are four church ruins in the city center of Sinop. These churches which are recorded in the Sinop cultural inventory are Balatlar church, an idle church in Ada neighborhood and the church ruins in Meydankapı and Kefevi neighborhoods [6].


[1] Süreyya Eroğlu, A. Alev Direr Akhan, “Seyahatnameler’de Sinop”, Atatürk Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Dergisi, 17:1, Erzurum, 2013, pp. 263-264.

[2] Per Minas Bıjışkyan, Karadeniz Kıyıları Tarih ve Coğrafyası 1817-1819, Trans. Hrand D. Andresyan, İ. Ü. Edebiyat Faküktesi Yayınları, No: 1411, İstanbul, 1969, p. 31.

[3] Saadet Gündoğdu, Zeynep Gül Ünal, Gülgün Köroğlu, “Sinop Balatlar Yapı Topluluğu Arkeolojik Kazı ve Koruma Yöntemleri Üzerine Bir Çalışma”, in Nuray Türker, Gülgün Köroğlu, Önder Deniz (eds.) I. International Conference on the Black SeaRegionalCulture, Sinop, 2011, pp. 263-274.

[4] Salname-i Vilayet-i Kastamonu: Hicri 1306 (Miladi 1889), Def’a15. Kastamonu: Vilayet Matbaası, 1306/1899, p. 475.

[5] Salname-i Vilayet-i Kastamonu: Hicri 1321 (Miladi 1903), Def’a 21. Kastamonu: Vilayet Matbaası, 1321/1903, p. 255.

[6] T.C. Sinop Valiliği İl Kültür ve Turizm Müdürlüğü, Sinop Tarihi ve Kültür Envanteri, Sinop, 2013, pp. 28, 43, 44 ve 55.