Chora Museum


Guided Tours Istanbul – is it a church, a mosque or a museum?!

Both Chora and Hagia Sophia are part of guided tours Istanbul and even. As there has always been a comparison between Chora Church and Hagia Sophia, though much smaller in size, just like it, Chora might as well have suffered the crisis of identity.

The church’s full name was the Church of the Holy Saviour in the Country. Originally, it was a part of a monastery complex outside the walls of Constantinople, to the south of Golden Horn, in the early 5th century. Chora is the Greek word for ‘countryside’. Where the church once was, was the country area out of the 4th century city walls of Constantine the Great. Later in the 5th century Theodosius II built his famous double line walls for the defense of the city. Thus, the church became incorporated within these city defenses and practically Chora Church was no longer in the countryside. However, the name Chora stayed guided tours istanbul.

The last seige

Then, in 1453 during the last siege of Constantinople Chora was in a very dangerous position due to its proximity to the western walls. These were the weakest point of the Byzantine defence. There was a desperate try to help the city with the icon of Theotokos Hodegetria. It was brought to Constantinople. The icon is a depiction of Virgin Mary, or the protector of the city. Nevertheless, storm took the city. Around 50 years after the fall of the city, the Grand Vezier of the Sultan converts Chora Church into a mosque. Thus, Chora goes through another part of its life – as a mosque, for four centuries. At that time, the Ottomans didn’t alter the church too much. They changed the grand dome as it had fallen during an earthquake. The frescoes, though, suffered a lot. They were covered by dirt, paint and plaster guided tours istanbul.


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