/Chora Church Istanbul
Chora Museum Mosque Istanbul - Visit Istanbul

Chora Church Istanbul

Chora Church

The Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora is a medieval Byzantine Greek Orthodox church preserved as the Chora Museum in the Edirnekapı neighborhood of Istanbul.

Address: Dervişali Mahallesi, Kariye Cami Sk. No:8, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Opened: 1958
Hours: Open 9AM–7PM “Except Wednesday”
Architectural style: Byzantine architecture
Phone: +90 212 631 92 41
Function: Museum

Map of Chora Church Istanbul

Photos of Chora Church Istanbul

The Turkish word Kariye is derived from the ancient Greek word Chora meaning outside of the city (land). It is known that there was a chapel outside of the city before the 5th century when the city walls were erected. The first Chora Church was rebuilt by Justinianus (527-565) in place of this chapel. In the era of Komnenoi, it served as the court chapel for important religious ceremonies, thanks to its nearness to the Palace of Blachernae.
Chora Church (Chora Kirke) was destroyed during the Latin invasion (1204-1261) and repaired in the reign of Andronikos II (1282-1328) by the Treasury Minister of the palace, Theodore Metochites (1313). It was expanded towards north, an exonarthex was added to its western side and a chapel (Parecclesion) to its southern side, and it was decorated with mosaics and frescoes.
The mosaics and frescoes in the Chora are the most beautiful examples dating from the last period of the Byzantine painting (14th century). The characteristic stylistic elements in those mosaics and frescoes are the depth, the movements and plastic values of figures and the elongation of figures.
After continuing to serve as a church following the conquest of Istanbul in 1453, the building was converted into a mosque in 1511 by Vizier Hadim Ali Pasha. It was converted into a museum in 1945, and during the restoration in 1948-1959 carried out by the Byzantine Institute of America, the mosaics and frescoes were uncovered and brought to the daylight.

Chora (Kariye) is situated inside the ramparts of Istanbul in Edirnekapi district. The word chora means outside the city, the countryside in ancient Greek.
Although there is no precise information about the construction date, it is known that there was previously a chapel here. Chora (Kariye) church / kirke was constructed along with the monastery in about 536 during the reign of emperor Justinian I (527-565). the church got damaged in the Iconoclastic period (726-842) and was restored at different times. The removal of the imperial dynasty to Blachernae Palace in the reign of the Comnenus dynasty (1081-1185), and the performance of some religious ceremonies in Kariye church, which was close to the Palace, considerably increased significance of the church. As a result, the mother-in-law of the emperor Alexius I )1081-1118) Maria Doucina took the derelict church under her protection and had it renovated. However, the church was pillaged during the Latin Invasion (1204-1261) and witnessed great destruction.
The golden age of the museum was during the reign of emperor Andronicus II Palaceologus (1282-1328). A great statesman, politician, scholar and man of letters, Theodoro Metochites had the church restored considerably. A corridor was added to the northern wing of the church, consisting of narthex and main floor, as well as a parecclesion, a narrow and long single-naves chapel adjacent to the southern face, and an exterior narthex running along the western face. The mosaics ornamenting the inner and outer narthexes, and frescoes ornamenting the parecclesion, were also done in this period. The high-tamboured and windowed dome sits on four arches above the main floor, which ends with a semi rounded apse at the ester end. The ground is marbled and the walls are coated with marble plates. These marble plates are as priceless as mosaic decorations for they are both old and figured.
The richest mosaics and frescos of the late golden age of the Byzantine Empire can be seen in Kariya (Chora). The lives of the Virgin Marry and Jesus are depicted in mosaics decorating the walls, the arches, the vaults, and the domes on the interior and exterior narthexes.


Chora Museum will be open in 7 days a week till further notice. Museum will be open in between 9 am to 7 pm in everyday.
Please note that admission fees, opening times or days of closure of the museums might be changed without prior notice, or that museum or section might be closed for restorations. To be certain on the closure days or opening times (Winter and Summer Season times may changed), you can contact us.
Admission and visiting hours
Summer Season (April-October)
Chora Museum is open from 09.00 and 19.00 during summer season. (Last admission at 18.00) from April 15th.

Winter Season (November-March)
Chore Museum is open from 09.00 and 17.00 during winter season. (Last admission at 16.30) from October 1st.

Chora Museum is closed on Wednesdays.

Visitors have to buy their tickets 1 hour before the museum closing time.

Admission Fee (Ticket) : 15 TL.


The easiest way is to get a taxi, the ride from the Sultanahmet area is about $10 or around 25 Turkish Liras.
As a much less expensive transportation alternative, take a bus from Eminonu and get off the bus at Edirnekapi stop. Chora museum is 5 minutes walk from the bus stop. Any of the bus No.’s 31E, 37E, 38E or 36KE will do. The fare is 4 TL/person only.