While going from Karaköy to Tophane on Kemeraltı Street, the large church built in the classical Armenian church architecture, which we will see on the right side of the road, is among the important churches of Istanbul. This church, dedicated to Aziz Krikor, is the oldest Armenian Church in Istanbul.
According to the Armenian Patriarchate page; In two manuscripts dated 1360 and 1361, a church named Surp Sarkis is mentioned in Galata. According to a manuscript found in the library of the Armaş monastery, a merchant named Gozma came to Istanbul from Gafa and purchased the land of the church and built the Church of Surp Kirikor Lusarovich. The church building, which survived the fire of 1660, was largely burned in 1731 and 1771 and reconstructed in 1799 under the direction of Architect Minas Kalfa. In time, Surp Cross and Surp Garabed Chapels are built next to the church. In 1888, the inner walls were opened in the form of an arch and these three places of worship were combined. In 1958, during the city configuration in Istanbul, Kemeraltı street was opened, and the church was expropriated, first the northern part of the church was destroyed and then it was allocated to the expanded street.
The church, which is located on the existing area remaining from the church land in 1962-65, was built in the domed style of the architect Bedros Zobyan and Isdepan Seghposyan. This church is the only church built in the style of classical Armenian architecture in Istanbul. Until the patriarchate building in Samatya was established, this church was the center of the Istanbul Armenian Community. It is still important due to its history and location. Finally, let’s talk about the street on which the Church is located. The monastery of the Saint Benoit Church, which we previously shared, on the Karaköy side of the street was located on the other side of the street before the big fire in 1771. There was also an arch connecting the two streets and it was passing under the arch in a section of the street. The name of the Kemeraltı street came from this arch.