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Touring an Orthodox Church and Islamic Mosque in Istanbul

April 5, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

Scaffolding covers the exterior of the Chora Church, and the interior nave is closed, but the mosaics and frescoes whisper stories to those who visit. We took a taxi to reach the out of the way location, but the trip was worth the effort.

Dome surrounds visitors in the Chora Church

Dome surrounds visitors in the Chora Church.

Constantine I built the monastery church outside the city walls in the 4th century. It was damaged by a strong earthquake in 558 AD and afterward restored by Emperor Justinian. By the 10th century, the church was near ruin. Maria Dukania, a devout Christian, financed the present building, a dome on four pillars (which we couldn’t see). Later several other buildings were added. The church remained safely in the hands of Orthodox monks during the Crusades. Theodores Methochides devoted his entire fortune to a needed restoration in 1305-1320. The exquisite mosaics and frescoes, including those in the funeral chapel, date from that period.

Domed Ceiling

Domed Ceiling

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