Kariye Museum Entrance Fee and Hours 2020


Byzantine Mosaics in Chora Church

Kariye Museum Entrance Fee, Chora Church Opening Hours

Visitors who allocate a day or two to visit Istanbul see such famous places as Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapı Palace, Basilica Cistern, Grand Bazaar. Chora Church is usually not included in the itineraries because it is not centrally located although it is a precious gem in Istanbul.

Byzantine Mosaics in Chora Church

Chora Church Jesus Christ Pantocrator Kariye Museum Entrance Fee

Jesus Christ Pantocrator © Serhat Engul

Renaissance of Byzantine Art

Chora Church was previously the center of a big Byzantine monastery complex. The only surviving building from the complex is the Church dedicated to Jesus Christ The Saviour.

Incredibly beautiful mosaics of the Church are regarded as the last sparks of Byzantine art. According to some historians, artistic breakthrough of the Church signified the Renaissance movement of the collapsing Byzantine Empire.

Byzantine Frescoes in Chora Church

Chora Church Resurrection Kariye Museum Entrance Fee

Resurrection in Parekklesion © Serhat Engul

History of Chora Church or Kariye Museum Istanbul

The real date of construction of Chora Church is not known. But it is thought to have been built outside the city walls of Constantine period because the name Chora means the rural area outside the city. During the Theodosios period, the city borders were expanded and therefore the Church remained in the center.

Chora Church was reconstructed by Emperor Aleksios Komnenos at the 11th Century and was restored many times during history. The most important restoration was during the Byzantine statesman Theodore Metochites period.

Primary treasurer of the Empire, Metochites got the main dome of the church rebuilt and got Parekklesion section, a tomb room, integrated to the Church. The Church was decorated meticulously. The enchanting mosaics of the Church was made in this period by respectable Byzantine artists.

Kariye Museum Entrance Fee and Hours

Chora Church Dome Kariye Museum Entrance Fee

Dome of the Chora Church © Serhat Engul

Splendid Mosaics of Chora Church – Byzantine Art

Mosaics are grouped together in the inner and outer narthex. Most mosaics in the inner narthex of Chora Church depicts the life of Virgin Mary. Mosaics of the outer narthex depicts the life and miracles of Jesus Christ. The main site is fairly plain and there is only one mosaic. It is recommended that you visit the Chora Church with a private tour guide in order to have a better understanding of the mosaics because they are not aligned chronologically.

There are invaluable frescoes in the tomb chapel section called Parekklesion. Frescoes depicts the day of the Apocalypse. The patron of Chora Church, Theodoros Metochites, is buried here.

Byzantine Mosaics in Kariye Museum

Chora Church Outer Narthex Kariye Museum Opening Hours

Chora Church Outer Narthex © Serhat Engul

A Byzantine Patron Of Arts: Theodoros Metochites

The history of Byzantine Empire is full of palace intrigues. Destiny of Metochites, who was one of the top administrators in the Empire took a bad turn when the Emperor was overthrown and he was exiled to Thrace only to be forgiven two years later. He then secluded himself to Chora Church which he devoted his life to and lived in until his death.

Byzantine Art in Istanbul Kariye Museum

Chora Church Virgin Mary Joachim Anne

Virgin Mary with Joachim and Anne © Serhat Engul

Kariye Museum Splendid Byzantine Mosaics

Chora Church characterizes the golden years of late Byzantine art in a splendid way and the colors of gold, khaki, purple, lilac and saxe gleam like sunset lights. This secret gem of Istanbul has the most impeccable iconographic depictions inherited from the Byzantine Empire. I definitely recommend you to add this wonderful piece of art of the Middle Ages to your itinerary. Please note that the Chora Church is known as Kariye Museum by most of the locals.

Kariye Museum Entrance Fee 2020

The entrance fee for the Kariye Museum is 65 Turkish Liras as of 2020. Admission ticket is free for children under 8 years. Istanbul Museum Pass is valid in Chora Museum. The museum is commonly referred to as the Chora Church.

Kariye Museum Opening Hours 2020

Kariye Museum is open to visitors between 09:00 in the morning and 19:00 in the summer season between 1 April and 31 October. Chora Church closes at 17:00 between November 1 and April 1, which is considered the winter season. The museum is open to visitors every day of the week.

Entrance times of museums in Istanbul may vary due to events and renovations. Before going to the museum, I recommend you to visit the official website of the Chora Church and review the latest situation.

How to Get to Chora Church or Kariye Museum?

The Chora Church unfortunately not very easy to get by public transport from Sultanahmet or Taksim areas. Taking a taxi is the best option to get to Chora Museum from these places. The taxi ride from Sultanahmet or Taksim would cost you about 20 or 25 Turkish Lira.

If you still want to go to the Kariye Museum by public transport, you can take the buses from Eminonu to Edirnekapı. Eminonu is the transportation hub of Istanbul Old City. The bus stops at Eminonu are just next to the Galata Bridge. You can reach the sea side and find buses by passing the underpass in front of the Spice Bazaar.

Kariye Museum Entrance Fee and Hours 2020

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    It looks like this was also just converted into a mosque, which is another disappointing move on Turkey’s end. Do you know if it’s still currently open to the public to visit and when?

    • Serhat Engül

      Serhat Engül

      Hi, yes I think it should have stayed as a museum. They will find a way to show the mosaics to the visitors even if it would serve as a mosque. Chora still serves as a museum for now and can be visited. It’s open to visit from 09:00 to 17:00.

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