After being kicked out of Aya Sofya after the Turkish conquest of the city, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate wandered among several churches before settling here in the Church of St. George in 1601. Rebuilt after a fire in 1720, the church is a relatively simple basilica, though the (rather dark) interior has a refined atmosphere. Sarcophagi with the remains of some famous Byzantine saints, a Byzantine-era patriarchal throne, and two very old mosaic icons on the right side
of the elaborate iconostasis are considered the most noteworthy features of the church. The main front gate of the compound has been welded shut ever since Sultan Mahmud II had Patriarch Gregory V hanged from it in 1821 as punishment for the Greek revolt. This small church is theoretically the center of the Orthodox world, though some Turks would like to claim that it serves only the dwindling community of Istanbul Greeks.