Located in the bustling neighborhood of Taksim in Istanbul, St Anthony of Padua Church (also referred to as Basilica di Sant'Antonio di Padova) is a Roman Catholic minor basilica that provides a respite from the shops and businesses surrounding it. It has the largest parish of the Catholic churches in Istanbul and mass is conducted by Italian priests. Mass in multiple languages is offered each week. In a city largely full of mosques, it is an interesting change of pace to visit St Anthony, which has long been at the epicenter of Catholicism in Istanbul. A famous Catholic figure who preached here was Pope John XXIII, who served as the Vatican's ambassador for Turkey before he was elected as pope in 1958. You'll see statues -- including one right by the entrance – and other displays commemorating his life as you walk around the church.
When visiting St Anthony of Padua, also take note of the neo-Gothic architecture. Though the original church on this location was built in the 1700s, it was torn down and rebuilt in this style in 1912. The outside of the church has a striking terra cotta color with intricate sunburst designs while the interior has elegant columns, mosaics on the wall and rays of natural light seeping in through elongated windows.