Address: Kariye Camii Sokak No. 29, Edirnekapı Fatih
Phone: (0212) 631 9241
Web Site: kariye.muze.gov.tr
Working Hours: April 15-September 30: Daily 9:00-19:00
October 1-April 14: Daily 9:00-16:30
The Chora Church (also known as Church of St. Savior in Chora) is similar to Hagia Sophia in that it was originally built as a Byzantine church in the 6th century. Later destroyed in an earthquake, the church was rebuilt in the 11th century and was later converted to a mosque by the Ottomans after the Conquest of Istanbul (and then to a museum in the 20th century).
It is considered one of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture and contains many impressive mosaics and frescoes from all periods of its history. Kariye, like Chora, means village or countryside, as the church was built on a site that had once (before the construction of the Theodosian walls) been outside the city limits.
The area - with its renovated wooden houses - is very picturesque. From the outside, the church resembles a small-scale Hagia Sophia, but the frescoes and mosaics inside far outnumber those of its more famous cousin. These were mostly painted over when the church was converted to a mosque in 1511. Between the years 1948 to 1958 they were uncovered by the American Institute of Byzantine Research, and now exist in something approaching their original splendor.