Chora church Museum (Kariye ), Istanbul
Chora Church was originally a Byzantine church, later it became a mosque and was known as the Kariye Camii, then it became a museum. Chora Church is well worth visiting as its walls are covered with the most beautiful frescoes and mosaics. It is the best preserved church in Istanbul and is located in the Edirnekapi district.
Chora Church was originally part of a monastery. The Church was located outside Constantinople's city walls, so the church's full name was the Church of the Holy Saviour in the Country. You can still see sections of Byzantine city wall near Chora Church nowadays.
The first church at this site was built in the early fifth century. The current building dates mainly from 1077 to 1081. At that time Maria Dukaina, the mother-in-law of Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus, rebuilt Chora Church. Then in the early twelfth century Chora Church was damaged in an earthquake and was rebuilt by Isaac Comnenus, Alexius's third son.
Theodore Metochites, a powerful Byzantine statesman, comissioned many of the church's fine mosaics and frescos between 1315 and 1321. Later he was exiled, then he was pardoned and allowed to return to Constantinople. He spent the last two years of his life as a monk in Chora Church.
Atık Ali Paşa, the Grand Vizier of Sultan Bayezid II, ordered Chora Church to be converted into a mosque after the Ottoman Conquest of the city and it became known as Kariye Camii. The mosaics and frescoes on the walls were covered with a layer of plaster, as Muslims believe it is wrong to depict the human form in art.
In 1948 restoration work began at Chora Church. In 1958 Chora Church became a museum.
Chora Church has three main areas: the entrance hall, the main body of the church and the side chapel. The building has six domes.
My first photo shows a fresco in the side chapel depicting the Resurrection. Christ has just broken down the gates of hell and is pulling Adam and Eve out of their tombs. My second shows Christ Pantocrator in the south dome of the church entrance. My third shows part of the Patriarchs and Bishops Fresco which is under the Ressurection Fresco.
Thats a beautiful park just across the Chora Church Museum, actually park is kindda newly opened up in 2011, very nice alternative to have a rest after the Museum visit ...
Nice place also for the families w kids and several options for food and beverage needs .... :)
First thing I suggest u is to provide high gig mem cards for ur digital camera, as u gonna shoot A LOT of photos there in the Chora Museum ... :)
The fresks, wall, ceiling every corner of the Museum is full of sights, due to a long history past, some of them are kindda damaged due to weather conditions, earthquakes before etc but still amazing to see ...
The Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora is considered to be one of the most beautiful surviving examples of a Byzantine church. The church is situated in Edirnekapi neighborhood, which lies in the western part of the municipality of Fatih.
In the 16th century the church was converted into a mosque by the Ottoman rulers and it became a secularised museum in 1948. The interior of the building is covered with fine mosaics and frescoes.
You can see on my "Travelogue" more photos of this amazing Museum ... :
Chora Museum Travelogue
Its located at the "Edirnekapi" district ... Either you can take a public bus from Taksim or from Besiktas, or go to Eminonu by tram and than switch to a public bus at Eminonu station to reach Edirnekapi for the Kariye ...
A definitly "must see" sight of Istanbul ... :)
You should be prepared. Before you enter the church, buy a book in your language (10 liras, it's sold by merchants near the entrance) and use it as a guide. Wikipedia or general travel books miss the details.
The mosaics are real masterpieces, and moreover they are the best-maintained mosaics of the Byzantine art. They describe the live of Mary in a way similar to today's comics, in 54 "stripes", starting from the meeting of her parents and ending up with her death. In between, we see parts from the life of Jesus.
About getting there: It's a bit complicated by public transport. We went by taxi from Beyoglou and paid 9 liras on a day with enough traffic. Just tell the driver the name in Turkish: "kariyE muzEsi".
Conclusion: Don't miss it, but don't forget the book describing what you see.
The Chora Church (Kariye Camii in Turkish), is one of the gems of Istanbul. It is well outside the main tourist area, but definitely worth a visit to see its beautiful 14th century mosaics.
The Chora Church was built in around 1000 AD, and then redecorated in the early 1300s under the sponsorship of Theodore Metochites, a wealthy senior Byzantine official. It was at that time that its frescos and mosaics were added. After the Ottoman conquest, the church was converted into a mosque, and much of its Christian artwork was painted over or removed. It is no longer an active mosque, and many of the mosaics and frescos in the outer sections of the church have been uncovered and restored. Unfortunately, no significant art survived in the nave of the church. However, what has survived in the outer rooms of the church is still beautiful and definitely worth seeing. The Chora Church's mosaics depict various scenes from the lives of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, as well as their ancestors and some of the apostles.
St. Saviour in Chora was built in the 1300's and was preserved because it was converted into a mosque. In the early 20th century, the Byzantine Society of America took upon itself the heroic task of salvaging churches and returning the glory of past times.
Saint Saviour is in a very conservative district where you see most women in chadors, and is down some circuitous streets, but inside are the most amazing mosaics and frescoes imaginable. My favorite is a painting of Jesus pulling Adam and Eve from the grave at the end of time.
If you do nothing else, take the time to see this incredible example of late Byzantine ecclesiastical art.
In the centre of the south dome is a portrait of Christ and in the centre of the north dome a picture of Virgin Mary and the child. In the inner nartex of the small domes there are pictures of Christs ancestors, going all way back to Adam.
Other mosaics on the wall have motifs from Christ or Virgin Marys life.
Many tourists come here so it might not be off the beaten path, but it is quite far from the other tourist attractions in Sultanahmet Area.
Chora/Kariye was built as a church , but has also been used as a mosque. Now it is a museum. The building now standing was built during the 11th century. Inside there are beautiful mosaics from the 14th century. The mosaics are mainly in the ceiling and high on the walls, so be prepared to feel it in your neck.
In a side chapel there are impressive paintings from the same period as the mosaics.
The yard outside the museum is peaceful and a nice place to sit in for a while.
Entrance fee is 10 000 000 TL.
To go there from Eminönü take bus 32, 37, 38 or 910 and ask for Karyie Camii.
One of the off the beaten paths in Istanbul is the Kariye museum. Also known as the Chora church has the most beautiful mosaics that you can see in Istanbul. Kariye museum is in Edirnekapi, Fatih region. I only know to reach there by a taxi but it should not cost more than 6-7 USD from the Touristy area. The museum is open everyday except Wednesday and open from 09:00 to 16:00 hours. And the entrance fee for this year is 10 million Trl, around 6 USD.
The Church was built in 12th Century and the mosaics are from the 14th century. The mosaics in the museum are in four different parts; the ones in the outer entrance and inner entrance are worth to see, especially the Anastasis, (The Resurrection). Where Christ, who had just broken down the gates of Hell, is standing in the middle and trying to pull Adam and Eve out of their tombs.
Kariye Museum :(Church of St.Saviour in Chora) Kariye
Camii Sok.,Edirnekapi;Located near the ruins of the Byzantine walls.This 11th-century church-turned-museum
has a superb collection of biblically inspired murals,
mosaics,and frescoes,considered some of the most important of 14th-century Byzantine artwork known today. Closed Tues. Bus from TAKSIM to Edirnekapi no'87.
I recommend you and everybody to visite forgotten districts of Costantinople, you will discover unbelievable small places . If you come here find me for more infos from firstname.lastname@example.org....... You see one of the mosaics of the Chora Church in Edirnekapi near the city walls .
The side chapel is built to hold the tomb of the founder of the church. The walls here are painted with frescos dating from the same time as the mosaics (14th century).