Trip Planner:   Europe  /  Turkey  /  Istanbul  /  Museums  /  Kariye Museum (The Chora Church)
Kariye Museum (The Chora Church), Istanbul
(4.5/5 based on 5,000+ reviews on the web)
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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • It is not near the principal attractions but it's worth the visit. Amazing mosaics and frescos. Perfectly maintained. I couldn't leave the place. We bought a book with pictures and the explanation of ...  more »
  • The Orthodox Church is away from the Center. It is completely invisible to the outside because almost totally covered with tarps to work. Inside is exceptional if you are accompanied by a guide very informed of the place, otherwise it may be a little tight. This place is a huge "comic" of the life of Mary (Jesus is not the central character). When it is well told, it's exciting. Few people in this moment of the (relative) lack of tourists
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  • Although the nave is still closed to the public for labor, strongly suggest you go so far for a total immersion in the world of Byzantine mosaics. I will not dwell on the beauty of the work, those who enjoy the mosaics you know what I mean. We come to practical details. Admission is included in the Charter, it is advisable to make museums in 5 days. take a guide, paper or human, because you have to follow in detail the scenes, especially those of Mary's life, less known than those of Christ's life. To Chora from Sultahamet you can take the tram to the West, get off at Laleli Universitesi, come back 20 metres and climb the stairs along the University, you arrive at a bus stop where to look for the bus that says Edirnekapı (always asks the driver if you go well for Hora, not San Salvatore, because nobody in Istanbul calls it that), when you see the walls go down and follow the signs going down towards the Golden Horn to the right of the stop. I also recommend the walk in the popular from Chora to the Golden Horn. Very different from Istanbul tourism. I went on foot to Eyup, more interesting neighborhood, with its important mosque.
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Google
  • One of Istanbul's must-see attractions. Mary's mosaics, which are rarely seen in similar churches or museums of the world, increase this value even more. Moreover, it is an interesting place to visit and photograph, not only the museum but also the surrounding area.
  • Kariye Museum originally formed the center of a Byzantine monastery complex. Only the church section, which was dedicated to Jesus Christ the Savior, has survived. After the arrival of the Turks in Istanbul, this building, like the Hagia Sophia, was converted into a mosque. In 1948 it was made a museum leaving no Islamic element in the building except the 19C minaret outside in the corner. “Kariye” is the Turkish adaptation of an ancient Greek word “Chora” which refers to countryside. Considering the perimeter of the walls of Constantine (4C AD) the building was located out of the city. If this theory is correct Chora Monastery should have been from the 4C. But unfortunately according to sources, the existence of Chora Monastery before the 8C is not certain.
  • This is one the spectacular ancient Church. Chora Church is very important for Christian history and New testament. It's my favorite attraction place in Istanbul. I highly recommend you guys to visit this beautiful church.
  • It is a bit expensive for a small museum. 30 Liras per person and 20 Liras for students. Frescoes looks amazing. It is under construction nowadays. Better to check well before you go.
  • Would give 5 stars but it was being renovated. Renovation is good, but full price during renovation is not. What little was available was beautiful, but I would recommend waiting until the repairs are finished.