St Stephen’s Cathedral
The cathedral of St. Stephen of the Bulgars on the shore of the Golden Horn is notable on two counts. It is one of the few examples of neo-Gothic architecture, but more impressive is the fact that it’s a pre-fab, constructed entirely out of cast-iron sections, cast in Vienna and floated to Istanbul down the Danube on a hundred barges. It was built – or, rather, bolted together – in 1871 for the Bulgarian community who were allowed by the Ottomans to split from the Greek Orthodox faith and found their own Bulgarian Church. Despite being neo-Gothic and made of iron it’s a pretty church still used by the dwindling local Bulgarian community and busloads of pasty pilgrims from across the Bulgarian frontier.