Chora (Kariye) is one of the most fascinating museums of Istanbul. The fact about Chora is, never decide before you see the inside! Chora seems usual and poor-looking from the outside, but oppositely it’s very ostentatious and glamorous inside. The most impressive things are located in the inside of the museum. You will be impressed by it’s mosaic and frescoes covered interior.
Chora is covered with amazing mosaics and frescoes and have a cultural mixture of Byzantine and Ottoman eras. During the Ottoman era (after 1453 – when the Istanbul conquered), Chora Church turned into mosque after 1511 by Ottomans. Ottomans covered the mosaics (didn’t destroyed) because of their religious beliefs. Because, in Islamic beliefs – symbolizing or painting human body and face was a sin. Thankfully, Ottomans never destroyed historical and cultural structures or buildings of the cities which they conquered, they preferred to “cover” them. After 1930 during the Republic of Turkey, Chora mosaics are uncovered by archaeologists.
Thomas Whittemore from the “Byzantine Institute of America” who was a scholar and archaeologist – got responsibilty and sponsored restoration of the Chora by the permission of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk who is the founder and first president of the Turkish Republic.
Mosaics are illustrating many information about Christianity and Byzantines lifestyle in chronological order, like the birth of Virgin Mary, pregnancy of Mary, Jesus during healing, presentation of the Mary and so on.
- Patricia Schultz, the writer or the top-seller “1,000 Places to See Before You Die” listed Chora Museum in her book. You can check “East Europe” part to find-out Chora Museum in the book!
- Last year, Chora Museum is visited by 250.000 tourists, so don’t miss to add this awesome museum to your travel plans.
- You can check location from the “transportation” tab. It’s easy to locate and you can reach there by public transportation.
Transportation to Chora Museum
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Visitors have to buy their tickets 1 hour before the museum closing time.
Phone: (212) 631 92 41 – (212) 522 09 89
Fax: (212) 621 34 35
Admission fee is: 15TL (Turkish Lira). Get 72 hours valid Museum Card to save!