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Kariye Museum (The Chora Church), Istanbul

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See one of the best examples of Byzantine design in the region with a trip to Kariye Museum (The Chora Church), whose interior is entirely covered in fine mosaics and frescoes. Originally built by Constantine the Great, this church has been reconstructed five times. Most significantly, Ottoman rulers converted the structure into a mosque in the 16th century. A bit off the beaten path, you have to travel to Istanbul's Western Erdinekapı neighborhood to find this building, which opened as a secular museum in 1948. However, the masterful and aesthetically stunning interior makes this trip worthwhile. Use our Istanbul vacation planner to visit Kariye Museum (The Chora Church) on your trip to Istanbul, and learn what else travelers and our writers recommend seeing nearby.
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The bustling downtown core of old Istanbul is the popular choice among tourists wanting a short walking distance to the city's biggest attractions. Here you'll find hostel-style accommodations and reasonably priced and traditionally decorated hotels, as well as bed and breakfasts and inns with views overlooking the sea. Though often the most affordable, accommodations in the old city can be very overrun with tourists and street solicitors. If you seek a more relaxed stay, consider lodging near Taksim Square. This new, trendy neighborhood is a short 15-20 minute ride from the old city, but puts you closer to restaurants, shopping, and nightlife. Though the newer area of the city is a bit more upscale, you'll also find moderately priced hotels and some hostels. Look for luxury hotels in the western suburbs close to the airport, overlooking the banks of Bosphorus.
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  • Although the church is under reconstruction, you can see plenty of the really beautiful mosaics. You should take there a taxi but it is really worth to visit this place with the mosaics in a really go...  more »
  • Chora Church, known as Kariye Camii locally is the home to some of the most inspirational religious art in the world. The mosaics and frescoes were done in two phases, some around 1080 and the rest ar...  more »
  • If you love churches, you will want to make the effort to come to the Chora Church. It takes a bit of searching and you must put in a little time, using buses, asking directions, etc., but we finally ...  more »
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  • Hugely underrated, this church/mosque is really a neat thing to see. Look up the history on it. I'd expect a taxi ride from Eminönü to be about 20-30 lira. I always suggest this place as an option after visiting Sultanahmet mosque and Hagia Sofia.
  • Potential visitors should be advised that at the time of my visit (April 2017) the building is under restoration and mostly closed. The parts that were open, however, were still very impressive.
  • Chora Museum is amazing museum. Built as a church then converted into mosque. Now it is museum. Interior covered by mosaics .
  • It is a true gem forgotten by many tourists just because it is out of the way of many other 'touristy' locations in Istanbul. If you have time take a cab and invest 30 minutes of your time to see this church. It is beautiful :) I doubt that the islamist govt cares at all but they should restore it to its glory days- not only due to respect to this structure but it will attract more tourist hence generate more money for the govt.
  • The Chora Museum is definitely worth the trek out to Faith. The interiors which showcase the Christian origins. The mosaics are absolutely brilliant.