History of Chora Church (Chora Museum) in Istanbul
Chora Church is definitely one the most fascinating surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. People mostly visit to the fascinating Hagia Sophia during their stay in Istanbul, but it is such a heart breaker. There is an other church that also deserves just as much compliments about its outstanding beauty like her bigger, more famous sister, Chora Church. Because of its mosaics, architecture and history are equally good, only it isn’t as famous as Hagia Sophia.
Church is located in Edirnekapı district, was built in the 14th century, as part of a monastery complex outside the city walls of Constantinople. It is covered by the finest examples of mosaics and frescoes back to the 14th century, most of which are still in excellent shape. In the 16th century, the church was converted into a mosque and became a museum in 1948. Church was pretty much left untouched by Ottoman Empire after the fall of Constantinople. They were protected every detail in this beautiful structure.
Chora means the outside of the city so when church was built in 5th century, it was settled far from the city center. Although it is located inside the Land Walls built by Theodosius II , but unfortunately, there are no remains left from the original church. At that time its original name was St. Saviour in Chora, after a little while, unfortunately church was suffered and destroyed by earthquakes. After a little while in 11th century, church was constructed after two centuries by Maria Doukaina, mother-in-law of Alexius Comnenos I.
The architecture of the Chora is hauntingly beautiful, it is not as large as some of the other Byzantine churches however it has more beauty of its interior.
There are some breathtaking mosaics which describe the life of Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary, with citations from the Old and New Testaments, Resurrection (Anastasis) or the last judgment (Deesis), the Dormition of the Virgin (Koimesis) etc…
This place gives you some kind of piece of mind and hold you tight with its surprisingly protected history from the moment you step inside. Ready for one of the most inspiring Byzantine Church, you are ever gonna see.
The cost of the ticket to enter the Chora Museum is €5.50.
Hours & schedule
The Chora Church Museum is open everyday between 9:00 AM – 4:30PM
How to get there?
Take the tram (T1) from Sultanahmet to Topkapi stop, and another tram (T4) from Topkapi to Edirnekapi stop. Walk from Edirnekapi to Chora church (10 minutes).