The Wow: The neighborhood, known for its freedom and tolerance, has attracted Romans, Armenians, and ethnic minorities alike over the centuries. Balat’s architecture and people have an authentic spirit that has been lost in much of Istanbul.
Why Now? A local property developer has recently announced his plan to spend $140 million to renovate more than 60 buildings. This and other plans to gentrify the area will likely alter Balat’s authentic spirit, and its ability to transport visitors though time.