Chora Mosque 2024

The Current Status Of Chora Church (last update May 2024)

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.

Chora 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 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.

From 1511, the Kariye Mosque began to be used as a mosque, and in 1948, it was converted into a museum by the Turkish Government. Being one of the most visited museums in Turkey, Kariye was decided by the Turkish Government to be converted back into a mosque in 2020, and it was reopened for worship on May 6, 2024.

Breathtaking Byzantine mosaics of the 14th century at the Chora Church ( chora monastery ), Istanbul

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 Chora Church( Kariye Museum ).

The houses around it are generally restored in the style of old Istanbul bay windows. Right next to it, Kariye Hotel serves for domestic and foreign tourists who come to stay for a boarding stay. There is also a service for those who want to eat at this hotel. You can buy souvenirs or postcards from the shops around the church. Those who are tired from church tour can enjoy and relax by drinking Turkish coffee in the tea garden opposite to it.

Chora church museum closed

How to Go to Chora Church?

Chora Church is located in the center of Istanbul, in Edirnekapı district of Fatih district, in Dervis Ali Neighborhood, on block 2607, parcel 1. It is also close to many museums. Therefore, transportation is very convenient. You may see the exact location of Chora Church on the Google Map below:

To go to Chora Church, you need to go to Edirnekapı district. Those coming from the Historic Peninsula can take the buses going from Eminönü to Edirnekapı. By getting off at Edirnekapı Bus Stop, you can walk to Chora Church in just a few minutes.

Those coming from Taksim Square can also take the buses going to Edirnekapı. But, if you are someone who likes to walk, you can take the metro to the Golden Horn Metro Bridge and go from there on foot

If you go towards Kadir Has University from the Golden Horn Metro Bridge; You can take a walk covering the districts of Cibali, Fener, Balat and Ayvansaray and finally reach Chora Church.

After visiting the Chora Church, you can also visit the Tekfur Palace Tile Museum, which has been opened to visitors recently, by following the signs. Tekfur Palace is the only part of the Blachernaean Palace that has survived to the present day.

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The Current Status Of Chora Church

Since 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. The decision of transforming Kariye, which is a museum known with its beautiful Byzantine art, into a religious place has brought about various criticisms. Many people have been afraid that such change may put at risk the valuable frescoes and mosaics considered as one of the most significant parts representing culture heritage of this area.

Nevertheless these worries were left unattended; renovation works were carried out and on May 6th 2024 Kariye was reoppened officially as a place where Muslims can pray – this event keeps raising questions about connection between religion and saving history.

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.

Chora Church Mosaics

Kariye Mosque Visiting Hours 

Starting from May 7, 2024, Kariye Mosque will be open for visitors from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. For worship, it opens 30 minutes before prayer time and closes one hour later.

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.

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15 Comments

  1. avatar
    Posted by John Koh| 07/05/2022 |Reply

    Hi – so the church/mosque is closed? It is not open outside prayer hours? John from singapore

    • avatar
      Posted by Guided Istanbul Tours| 10/05/2022 |Reply

      Dear John,
      Thanks for your comment,
      Unfortunately it’s closed temporarily however it’s not open for prayer times as well. It’s totally closed for an unknown duration.
      Please feel free to contact our team to plan your trip to Istanbul.
      Best regards

      • avatar
        Posted by Yuliya| 06/11/2022 |Reply

        Hi we will be visiting Istanbul in July 2023 do you happen to have any info on whether the Kariye mosque will be open by July? Thanks

        • avatar
          Posted by Guided Istanbul Tours| 11/11/2022 |Reply

          Dear Yuliya

          The opening time is not yet specified, our team will be in touch with you. When the opening date is published, it will be shared on this page.

          Please feel free to contact our team to plan Guided trip in Istanbul.
          Best regards

  2. avatar
    Posted by Sam| 21/08/2022 |Reply

    Hi there. I will be in Istanbul in three weeks. Is the Chora church still closed ?

    • avatar
      Posted by Guided Istanbul Tours| 23/08/2022 |Reply

      Dear Sam;

      Thanks for writing us. It is still under restoration.
      Please feel free to contact our team to plan your Guided trip in Istanbul.
      Best regards

  3. avatar
    Posted by Nikolai| 08/10/2022 |Reply

    Hello, is the building closed for visit still now?

    • avatar
      Posted by Guided Istanbul Tours| 13/10/2022 |Reply

      Hello Nikolai
      Yes, the building is still being restored. And the opening time is still unknown…

      We know that nothing can replace Kariye, but Istanbul has many hidden gems.

      If you’ve time in Istanbul, don’t hesitate to write us about alternative places and private Istanbul tour options.
      With kind regards

  4. avatar
    Posted by Saz Shousha| 27/10/2022 |Reply

    Is it still being restored?

    • avatar
      Posted by Guided Istanbul Tours| 28/10/2022 |Reply

      Dear Saz Shousha

      Yes, Kariye is still under restoration and transformation. The opening date of Kariye is still not shared

      Best regards

  5. avatar
    Posted by Patrick| 13/11/2022 |Reply

    Are they going to cover all that magnificent art? This is a world heritage site! Doesn’t Istanbul have enough mosques?
    Willit be open in December 2022?

    • avatar
      Posted by Guided Istanbul Tours| 15/11/2022 |Reply

      Hi Patric
      The restoration is being carried out in a private manner, so the opening and its scope were not shared in detail.
      There was a similar concern at Hagia Sophia, but the mosaics have been made fit for worship using only retractable curtains. However, the fact that it has ceased to be a museum and the visit has become uncontrolled makes Hagia Sophia very tiring.
      As Guided Istanbul Tours, we would like you to know that we share the same sensitivity with you, the visitors of Istanbul, against making decisions that wear out such historical buildings.

      Please feel free to contact our team to plan Guided trip in Istanbul.
      Best regards

  6. avatar
    Posted by Ryan Rodriguez| 18/01/2023 |Reply

    Hi! Would you know if the Chora Church is now open?

    • avatar
      Posted by Guided Istanbul Tours| 19/01/2023 |Reply

      Hi Ryan

      Thank you for your comment,

      The situation is the same as the last announcement. The restoration is going on in a private manner and the opening day is not announced.

      If you have time in Istanbul, please feel free to write to us about alternative locations and private Istanbul tour options.
      With kind regards

  7. avatar
    Posted by Grgo| 25/10/2023 |Reply

    Bok pozdrav iz RH,volio bi da se svi mosaici obnove u crkvi Kariye koja ima status dzamije jer su svi mosaici pod unesko bastionom i zastiti,i volio bi da Turska vlast u tom objektu ne pokriva mosaike jer ih je unesko zastitio za razgledavanje a i pozvao bih vlasnike tvrtke ako mogu da skinu i ostatak zbuke sa djelova gdje se ne vidi mosaici i razotkriju i popune do kraja gdje je glavni ulaz,središnja velika kupola gdje je bio očdar i dvi manje kupole gdje je bila kapela koje imaju uzak prostor te da se mosaici vrate u cijelobitosti a ne da stoje napola otkriveni da se objekt Kariye ili Crkva sv spasitelja na polju ne koristi unutrašnji prostor za molitvu več prostor ispred kafića Kariye.Ako imate suosjećanja i postovanja prema Kršćanskom svijetu i umjetnosti.Ta je umjetnost starija i od muslimana generacije 21 stoljeća bar 2000 godina.A i meni je najdraži muzej tako da savjetujem da se do kraja razotkriju mosaici i onaj oko Bogorodice i dgje su na zapadnim vratima stupovi prije mosaika Marije i dva Andela.Gdje se odmah vidi Krist na ulazu velika slika u Chori.To mi je najdraži muzej Crkva i ucinite mi uslugu da sve mosaike razotkrijete tijekom obnove koliko je moguće i pletere na prozorima

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