Armenian Heritage Walking Tour

Tour Highlights:

  • Discover two Armenian neighborhoods in Istanbul
  • Kumkapı and Samatya
  • Talk about the current political situation in Turkey
  • Visit the Armenian Patriarchal Church
  • Private tours only
  • Local and expert tour guides

Discover Istanbul’s Armenian Heritage

Istanbul’s Armenian heritage is one of the oldest, most vibrant, and most varied in the Middle East. We include a good list to see the major religious sites and also social buildings like schools, hospitals, cemeteries, and Armenian-run businesses in Istanbul.

At the turn of the 20th century, the once far-flung Ottoman Empire was crumbling at the edges. Armenians (historically one of the most significant ethnic minorities) in the area were blamed for siding with the Russians, and the Young Turks began a campaign to portray the Armenians as a threat to the state.

Armenians mark the date of April 24, 1915, when several hundred Armenian intellectuals were rounded up, arrested, and later executed at the start of the Armenian genocide (the ‘G word’ is a crime in Turkey), which is said to have extended to 1917.

On the eve of World War I, there were two million Armenians in the declining Ottoman Empire. By 1922, there were fewer than 400,000. Tens of thousands of Armenians converted to Islam during World War I to escape the Ottoman massacres, and their identity gradually slipped from memory and history.

Today, 60,000 Turkish-Armenians form modern Turkey’s Armenian community and have remained in the country despite the long shadow of the past. In daily life, they do everything to keep their culture and language intact despite being a tiny Christian community in a majority Muslim country. Despite the crushing weight of this past, families refuse to emigrate.

At present, the Armenian community in Istanbul has 17 schools, 17 cultural and social organizations, three newspapers, two sports clubs, and two health establishments, as well as numerous religious foundations set up to support these activities. Our Armenian Heritage tour includes a walk to the Armenian Patriarchal Church in Kumkapı and then a visit to Hrant Dink’s burial place in Balıklı Cemetery.

Dink is an Armenian journalist, writer, and activist. He was also the chief editor and publisher of Agos newspaper. Agos had played an essential role in presenting Armenian historical grievances through the publishing of articles and opinions in the Turkish language, addressed to the Turkish public opinion. Hrant Dink was assassinated in front of his newspaper offices on January 19, 2007.

We discover the famous neighborhood of Samatya and continue to lunch. Samatya is the third neighborhood we see as part of our walk to discover the Armenian Heritage in Istanbul.

  • Armenian Patriarchate
  • Surp Asdvadzadzin Patriarchate Church
  • Surp Kevork Church (the church with the holy water)
  • Bezciyan Armenian School (we see it from outside when there’s a school holiday)
  • Surp Tateos – Suro Partoğomeos Armenian Church
  • Surop Pırgıç Armenian Hospital