The Current Status Of Chora Church (last update 2022)
The Current Status Of Chora Church
‘The Church Of The Holy Savior’ (mostly known as Chora Church) has a long history that dates back to the fourth century. It was built as a part of the monastery, out of the city walls of Constantinople. When the city walls erected in the fifth century, the monastery became a figure of the city’s defense, getting the name ‘Chora’ because of its location.
The church was rebuilt in the 11th century and the most beautiful Byzantine frescoes and mosaics were inserted in the 13th century so that the monument became as it is now. Till the fall of the Constantinople, Chora Church was one of the most fascinating examples of the Palaeologian Renaissance. When the Ottomans invaded the city, about fifty years later, Sultan Bayezid II converted the church into a mosque and named it ‘Kariye’ which is the Turkish version of the name of the neighborhood. The finest artwork was not destroyed but covered due to the belief in Islam which did not allow folks to worship in front of the Byzantine frescoes.
Starting from 1945, the building is designated by the Turkish Government and turned into a museum in 1958. The mosaics and frescoes were covered behind plaster for centuries, that is why they were not standing still as they used to be, also earthquakes made them fall off and decompose. Luckily, with the help of American funds and institutions, most of the artwork could be restored and started to be displayed in Kariye Museum.
Till 2020, when the Turkish Government decided to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque to regain the sympathy that started to linger among the conservative society, Chora Church had its own share and closed its doors to visitors waiting to be converted into a mosque again. Since then, there is a renovation going inside the building. However, it is not still sure when the Kariye Mosque will be opened again.
It is not quite difficult to see and understand that no one cares about Chora from the moment that the conversion of Hagia Sophia is no longer a political debate. Hope that the decision does not become a long-term acknowledgment and such a history and artwork could be experienced by the visitors of Istanbul. Istanbul will definitely be an ordinary city if Constantinople is tried to be torn apart from its unique culture.
We, at Guided Istanbul Tours, believe that in the near future, we will be able to assist you with your queries regarding visiting the ‘Church Of The Holy Savior’. Please do not hesitate to contact us regarding anything related to your Istanbul trip.