Converted into a mosque in 1500, the Little Hagia Sophia Mosque (Küçük Ayasofya Camii in Turkish) had previously been the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus. It was built by Emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora in 527 AD, a few years before the Hagia Sophia was completed, and is thus one of the oldest surviving church structures in Istanbul. The church's conversion into a mosque did little to alter the interior for much of the original architecture has survived remarkably well, including the pink and green marble columns, Byzantine capitals and the ornate frieze carved with a Greek inscription. In its original form, however, much of the church's walls were covered in mosaics (at least all of the presbytery and apse), which have disappeared over the centuries and been replaced with Ottoman decorative motifs. On the exterior, the Ottomans added an arched, multi-domed portico and a minaret, both typical of mosque architecture. The structure was just recently restored and continues to be used as a mosque. Much like other converted structures in Istanbul and elsewhere, the interior of this church-mosque is a rather fascinating mix of the two religions.
Generally called Little Hagia Sophia this beautiful mosque south of Blue mosque uses the structure of a Byzantine church dedicated to St Sergius and Bachus.
I was really impressed by the beauty and clarity of this mosque. Transformed in the 16Th century, it suffered the effects of time, and only in 2006 was restored. That's the reason why everything inside it is bright and clear.
This building is amongst the oldest surviving buildings in Istanbul, having been built by Byzantine/Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I in about 527-536, a few years before he built the much larger and much more famous Haghia Sofia (Ayasofya). He built this church to adjoin the Palace of Hormisdas, Justinian's palace before he became emperor. It was eventually converted into a mosque.
Some column capitals inside still have the monograms of Justinian and Theodora. The original inscription in Greek still exists around the colonnade and supposedly Sergius and Bacchus were buried in a crypt underneath, the entrance to which, covered in glass, is exposed and on view. Much of the original interior still exists, although the interior stuccoing on the walls dates from its conversion to a mosque, and the inside is in beautiful condition. The central part is a dome supported on an octagon inside a square structure.
The structure has suffered heavily over the years but recently underwent substantial work. The compound includes an interesting Ottoman Muslim cemetery.
Commonly referred to as Little Haghia Sophia this church was built in 527 a few years before its namesake. Emperor Justinian together with his Empress Theodora gave this church to the city at the beginning of their long reign. The inside of this church is ingenious and highly decorative and is one of the most charming architectural treasures of Istanbul.
After the conquest of Istanbul in 1453 the church was converted into a mosque.
It's a nice walk from Sultanahmet to his church down the narrow streets,like you stepped in an old movie.The extract from "Frommer's review" will describe the church better than me :"
Started in A.D. 527 by Justinian in the first year of his reign, this former church represents an important stage in the process of Byzantine building, particularly in the support of the dome atop an octagonal base. The church took its name from two martyred Roman soldiers later elevated to the status of patron saints; the edifice later assumed the name of "Little Ayasofya" due to its resemblance to the Ayasofya in Sultanahmet Park, which was started in 532. The church was converted into a mosque in the 16th century by the chief eunuch under Beyazit II, who is buried in the garden. We know from the ancient historian Procopius that the interior of the church was covered in marble and mosaics; however, none of this remains. Opposite the entrance to the mosque is a medrese that encloses an uncharacteristically serene and leafy garden. An on-site eatery as well as teahouses share the arcade with a number of bookshops and calligraphy boutiques, and genuine finds offering samples at some of the most competitive prices in the city.'
This Kucuk Aya Sofya Camii, former Church of SS. Sergius and Bacchus("Ecclesia Hagion Sergiou kai Bacchou "in Ancient Greek) means "Little" Aya Sofya. As the name shows, it looks like Aya Sofya. Like the "Big"Aya Sofya, it was built by Justinian and Theodora during 527 and 536. St. Sergius and St. Bacchus was patron saints of ancient Roman army. At first it was decorated with marvellous mosaics like Aya Sofya, but it is not extant now. But on some capitals of marble columns we can see the monogram of Justinian and Theodora even now. In around 1500 it was converted to mosque, and even now it is used as it.