Saint Stephen

Turkey, Tirilye (Bursa)

Saint Stephen

per person

The Saint Stephen monastery is a converted Byzantine foundation in Trigleia (Tirilye). The identification with the Church of St. Stephen is not absolute certain. However, it may be associated with the monastery of St. Stephen the Confessor, who was persecuted during the reign of Leo V (813-820). The conversion to a mosque took place  in the sixteenth or seventeenth century.

The monument dates to the early 9th century and it is considered to be an early example of a cross-in-square church.


The church has a square plan. Its main feature  is  the central dome with a diameter of ca. 15 feet which is based on a tall drum above four columns. Its diakonikon (the chamber next to the apse from the south side) has not survived but  it is evident that the apse consisted of three parts. As the apse walls project beyond the width of the naos, it must have created a large space.

In its first phase, also a south chapel was a part of the naos but later it was destroyed. The main entrance today is through a portico covered with a wooden roof. The portico is standing on four columns which consist of reused material. Most surviving sculptures are dated to the 6th century, while some others like the capitals of the lateral arcades and some of the cornice patterns might date to the ninth century.

After the conversion to a mosque, a mihrab covered most of the apse and a minaret was added. An earthquake in 1855 damaged the minaret which was rebuild after that. In 1920-1922, the building briefly became a church again. During this phase, it became evident that the monastery was originally decorated with mosaics. A restoration in 1995-1996 uncovered also fragments of opus sectile.



Información de la localidad

Saint Stephen
Other monuments and places to visitPanagia Pantobasilissa (Lady Queen of All) Church (14th century)
Natural Heritage
Historical Recreations
Festivals of Tourist Interest
Tourist OfficeNo
Specialized GuidesNo
Guided visitsNo
AccommodationsHotels and hostels in the city of Tirilye.
RestaurantsMany restaurants around
Monument or place to visitMonastery of Saint Stephen/Fatih Mosque
StyleRemains of the Early 9th century/16th and 17th century when it was converted into a mosque
TypeMonastic architecture
Epoch9th / 16th/17th centuries
State of conservationGood condition
Degree of legal protection
Mailing address
Coordinates GPS40.393078°N 28.796799°E
Property, dependency
Possibility of visits by the general public or only specialists
General public visits
Conservation needs
Visiting hours and conditions
It is a mosque and the visiting hours may therefore be restricted
Ticket amount
Research work in progress
Restoration works in 1995-1996
Signaling if it is registered on the route
Hayden, Robert; Sözer, Hande; Tanyeri-Erdemir, Tuğba; Erdemir, Aykan, The Byzantine Mosque at Trilye: A Processual Analysis of Dominance, Sharing, Transformation and Tolerance, in: History and Anthropology 22 (1) (2011) 1–17. doi:10.1080/02757206.2011.546851. S2CID 145072856.
Mango, Cyril; Ševčenko, Ihor, Some Churches and Monasteries on the South Shore of the Sea of Marmara". Dumbarton Oaks Papers. 18 (1973) 235–77. doi:10.2307/1291343. JSTOR 1291343.
Ousterhout, Robert, Master Builders of Byzantium. Philadelphia 2008
Information websiteswikipedia.org
LocationTirilye (Zeytinbağı), Bursa Province, Turkey