Hagia Irene Museum
Address: Topkapı Sarayı Avlusu, Sultanahmet Fatih
Phone: (0212) 512 0408
Web Site: www.kulturvarliklari.gov.tr
Working Hours: Every day: 9:00-17:00
Closed on Tuesday
The Hagia Irene or “Holy Peace” basilica, located right beside Hagia Sophia, was an Orthodox church that is now a museum and a performance hall.
The 6th century Byzantine structure is often referenced as the first church to be built in Constantinople, commissioned by Constantine I and later restored to its present form by Justinian I. It was incorporated into the Topkapi Palace complex by the Ottomans, who used it as an armory and warehouse.
Typical of early Byzantine architecture, the domed Roman basilica was originally decorated with tile mosaics, none of which remain. Under the influence of Iconoclasm, the church lacks religious iconography; the great cross over the main narthex may have replaced an earlier iconic representation.
Today the church is used for music performances, most notably hosting concerts for the Istanbul Music Festival.