Chora Church

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Istanbul, Turkey

Chora Church Istanbul Reviews

irenem irenem
153 reviews
Chora Church or the Kariye Cami Feb 25, 2017
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.

Atik Ali Pasha, 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 photo show 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; Christ Pantocrator in the south dome of the church entrance; and part of the Patriarchs and Bishops Fresco which is under the Ressurection Fresco.
Chora Church
Chora Church
Chora Church
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photo by: Memo