Chora Church

1600 Years Old Church

Chora Church Tours & Experiences

Tour to Byzantium with Patriarchate visit

Join us on a journey around the Golden Horn to see important Orthodox Christian sites, Byzantine walls and prisons, and more. ...

From €35.00 /per person

CHORA CHURCH Guided Museum Visit

Visit the Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora to see the oldest and best surviving examples of Byzantine mosaics and frescoes....

From €15.00 /per person

Chora Church

Chora Church or Kariye Museum in Istanbul is one of the trending museums which become more and more popular for touristic visits. If you wonder exactly where is Chora Church you have the tip of its Turkish name ¨Kariye¨ in the so-called neighborhood of Edirnekapı. The museum is located just inside the historic city walls overlooking the beautiful Golden Horn. It is always preferable to take a Chora Church guided tour to discover all the details about those historical surroundings and the Biblical reflections.


Chora Church Photos

Good to Know


When should I visit Chora Church?

You can visit Chora Museum everyday 9:00AM to 5:00PM in the winter and 9:00AM to 7:00PM in the summer. The museum is more crowded on the weekends. The museum is closed for visits for half-day on the first day of Ramadan and Sacrifice Festivals.

Is it expensive to visit Chora Church?

The museum ticket is 45 TL, which is around €7. The ticket is free for kids under 8.

How to get to the Chora Church?

You can reach with public transportation. Take a bus from Eminonu to Edirnekapi stop. Chora museum is 5 minutes walk away from the bus stop

Will I need a guide at Chora Church?

You can visit museum on your own but a tour with a guide would definetely be better. You can check Byzantine Monastries Of Istanbul Tour or our top picks below.

Things to do near Chora Church

Tekfur Palace, Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, Ahrida Synagogue, Balat District

Top Picks

About Blue Mosque

Historical Transformation of Chora Church

It is not clear how old is Chora Church but records show that it was first built in the 5th century, so the church is almost 1600 years old. The question of when was Chora Church built has its answer in the construction process. After the original church was destroyed by an earthquake, it had to wait for seven centuries to be rebuilt by Byzantine Emperor. The name Chora has a connotation with the Greek word meaning the countryside. At the time of its first construction, Chora Church was out of the city walls, however with the expansion of these walls, the monastery area remained within the city. Therefore, its re-construction got the importance but its name remained unchanged. This area in Edirnekapı is recently called ¨Kariye¨ - a modified version of original ¨chora¨ in the Turkish language.

After the conquest of Istanbul by Turks in 1453, Chora Church was transformed into Kariye Mosque by adding a mihrab and a minaret to the structure. The frescoes were just covered but not destroyed so that they could survive until today. After the Second World War, a restoration plan was implemented and all the Chora Church frescoes and mosaics were uncovered to revive it as Kariye Museum.

Chora Church Frescoes and Mosaics


The reason why Chora Church is significant has a connection with Chora Church facts. First of all, the structure was rebuilt by Aleksios Comnenus in the 11th century and restored in the 12th century when most of the mosaics reflecting Biblical stories were added. The sponsor of this great work Comnenus was reflected in one of the mosaics as a company to the Virgin Mary. Chora Church architecture is a typical example of Orthodox churches with Byzantine style.

The majority of Chora Church frescoes were decorated by imperial artist Theodore Metochites in the 14th century. These outstanding frescoes describe the Old and New Testament as well as the episodes from Jesus Christ’s life. The Anastasis in Chora Church is the most remarkable one portrayed on the right chapel. Anastasis or Anastasios means ¨resurrection¨ in Koine Greek and the fresco is a beautiful masterpiece reviving the scene of Christ’s resurrection.

Chora Church in Istanbul is usually compared to Church Chora Folegandros in Italy, which also depicts the Dormition of Virgin Mary in its mosaics; yet, the former is smaller in size but the frescoes and mosaics appear greater. They seem much closer and more vivid in color due to the sunlight oozing through windows.

Visitor’s Guide to Chora Church


Chora Church Istanbul hours for tours allow visitors to enjoy the overall work of art from 09:00 to 16:30 in winter whereas extending the time up to 18:00 on summer days. guided tours offer compact excursions to enjoy the time in various remarkable places from Chora Church to Süleymaniye Mosque, from Istanbul City Walls to the Golden Horn. In this sense, Byzantine Monasteries of Istanbul is a specifically designed tour for visitors who would like to have a deeper insight of Byzantine arts reflected on stone houses, columns with the highlight of the Chora Church to fulfill the artistic power of mosaics and frescoes.

Chora Church Comments

Luz - June 16, 2019

Dont forget to get an empty bottle for the water of Hagiasma Church

Micheal - May 16, 2019

An interesting area. On same region you can see past, present and can guess the future.

Minnie - February 02, 2019

You have to read about the Golden Horn. Really impressive. Ships on land 500 years ago. Crazy Turks.

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