Mosaics and frescos are amazing. Mosaics show the story of Jesus, and also the life of Mary. Well worth a taxi ride!
The Chora Church houses the most impressive collection of Byzantine mosaics in Istanbul. Be sure to come armed with biblical knowledge or a guide, because there are hundreds of motifs adorning the walls that are all the more impressive when one can pick them out. The church structure mostly dates from the 11th century, and the mosaics to the 13th. The second hall has a unique story line of the Virgin Mary’s life. Prepare to be awed.
Beautiful small church with wonderfully preserved mosaics and frescos. It's a bit of a jaunt out to it but well worth the effort. Bring a guidebook or two or you can spring for the audio guide as there are so many details you can miss otherwise. It can get crowded at certain times of the day due to tours but it's easy enough to find a spot to stand in and wait until everyone else moves on. Transportation wise, I took Tram 1 to Tram 4 (change at Topkapi) and got off at Edirnekapi and it was an easy 4 minute walk. I ended up taking the bus back but as they didn't announce stops I was glad I took the tram there. One of the few Istanbul attractions I went to that I would repeat for sure!
Such an amazing church with it's Byzantine mosaics and the beautiful garden. The mosaics are stunning and beautiful restored.
The Chora Church was originally built outside the walls of Constantinople, to the south of the Golden Horn. From the outside, it is a pretty little Byzantine church. Inside, it is simply stunning. Chora has the best collection of mosaics and early Christian artwork in the entire city, Hagia Sophia included. Almost every square foot of this tiny structure seems to be graced with Christian frescoes or mosaics. Flash photography is obviously not allowed, the best photos will be of the artwork in the niches nearest the windows.
Ironically, because of the iconoclastic period during which the Byzantines destroyed much of their own religious artwork, the best Byzantine frescoes can be found in Venice and Sicily. However, for the intrepid visitors who are willing to venture out to the city walls, Chora Church definitely has the best frescoes in the city. This small chuch is filled with frescoes depicting Christ, Mary, the saints and some of the emperors. The most famous fresco is that of Christ lifting the Jewish Patriarchs out of hell.
Quite an amazing example of Byzantine churches and artwork. The church originally stood outside the 4th century walls of Constantine the Great, however when Theodosius II built his land walls the church was included. Sometime during the 16th century the church was turned into a mosque. Then in 1945 was turned into a museum. Thankfully the beautiful mosaics inside have survived through all of this. It's a little difficult to get to, but a 20 lira taxi should get you there fine. The church is surrounded by a gorgeous garden and high brick walls, you don't even feel like you are in Istanbul anymore; you've been transported to the byzantine countryside. Not as large as other Byzantine churches that can be found in Istanbul, it outdoes them in it's interior beauty. I won't ruin the surprise, but it is truly an incredible little church that you must see!