Feast in Istanbul's historic Greek school attracts large crowd

Feast in Istanbul's historic Greek school attracts large crowd
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Thousands of people have visited the campus of Phanar Greek Lyceum that is opened to the public only for a day throughout the year.

A large crowd of visitors attended the feast held in Phanar Greek Lyceum in Istanbul on Saturday.

The Christmas feast was organized by the school administration to allow visitors into the historic campus, where stands were hosted for the sale of Christmas accessories and decorations.

The school, established in 1454, is the oldest surviving and most prestigious Greek Orthodox school in Turkey. Its current building, designed by the Greek architect Konstantinos Dimadis, was erected between 1881 and 1883.

Some of the visitors came only to observe the magnificent architecture and take photos, while some also shopped at the stands, Turkish news agency DHA said.

A visitor named Burak Tazeoglu told DHA that he came from the southeastern city of Antep - some 1,140 km from Istanbul - and that he has been waiting for three hours in the row to enter the premises.

Ozlem Sensoy said she was excited that she would be able to enter the school grounds that is normally closed to visitors. "I'm impatient to see the architecture. It is so impressing from the outside, it has always impressed me whenever I passed by," she said.

Madlen Kapu, one of the vendors, said that all of the products on her stand were hand made, and that she was pleased that the feast has attracted so many visitors.

The current building of Phanar Greek Lyceumis is located near the Church of St. George in the neighborhood of Phanar (officially Fener), which is the seat of the Patriarchate. It is known among the locals with nicknames such as "the Red Castle" and "the Red School."