Visitors flock to Phanar Greek Orthodox College in Istanbul

Phanar Greek Orthodox College

Visitors packed out the Phanar Greek Orthodox College, commonly known as the "Red School", in Istanbul as the school opened its doors for a Christmas bazaar, filling the streets with metres-long queues.

The Phanar Greek Orthodox College, the oldest surviving and most prestigious Greek Orthodox school in Istanbul (since 1454) was opened to visitors with a New Year’s bazaar for one day, as it does every year.

Those who came to visit the bazaar caused both vehicle and pedestrian traffic as long queues formed at the school’s entrance and extended to the end of the Sancaktar Slope, where the school is located.

While many people were waiting outside at the entrance, the scene inside was no different.

The bazaar was organised, according to Turkish outlet Hurriyet, in three large classrooms at the school, while vendors exhibited Christmas and New Year’s decorations, jewellery and various souvenirs for visitors at their stands.

Many visitors waited in line for hours to see the bazaar, while there were also those who came from outside the city to see the inside of “Red school.”

Burak Tazeoğlu, a visitor who stated that he came from the southeastern province of Gaziantep just to visit the bazaar, said he had been waiting at the gate of the historical school for three hours.

“I come from Gaziantep to Istanbul just for this bazaar. I left the house at 7 a.m. and have been on the road since. I’ve been here for another three hours in the crowd,” Tazeoğlu explained. “It is my third visit to the school, but I have never been able to see the inside before."

Özlem Şensoy, another visitor, stated that she had been waiting in the queue for more than two hours, adding that she was not only curious about shopping at the bazaar but also about the architectural atmosphere of the building.

“We will visit the school for the first time since it started the tradition of welcoming people once a year. We are excited. I am curious about its architectural texture, as it looks majestic from the outside," Şensoy said.

"It is a place that always impresses me whenever I pass by. I wonder how it is from inside and how its architecture is,” Şensoy added.

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