Chora Church / Kariye Museum

  1. Mosaics
  2. Frescos

Chora ChurchTodays Kariye Museum was originally known as the Church of the Holy Saviour Outside the Walls (Chora literally means ‘country’). It is reflecting the fact that when they built it, it was outside the original city walls of Constantine the Great. Later on, it stayed in the boundary of monumental city walls of Theodosius II. Its fame comes from the beautiful Byzantines Mosaics that decorates interior.

Byzantines reconstructed it at least five times, most significantly in the 11th, 12th and 14th centuries. Interior decoration like the famous mosaics and the less renowned but equally striking frescoes ; dates from c 1320. The funder was Theodore Metochites. He was a poet and man of letters who was logothetes, the official responsible for the Byzantine treasury. The mosaic above the door to the nave in the inner narthex, depicts Theodore Metochites offering the church to Christ.

Chora Church
Chora Church

 In this mosaic in Chora, Theodore Metochites is   presenting the model of the actual church to Jesus.   He was not the founder of the church but the artist   depicted him as founder because of being financial   benefector of the Church.

 Metochites’ political career culminated in 1321, when   he was invested as Grand Logothete – the official   responsible for Byzantine Treasury. Then he was at the   summit of his power, and also one of the richest men of his age. He spent some of his money on restoring and decorating the church of the Chora monastery.

Today the Chora consists of five main architectural units: the nave, the two-storied structure (annexe) added to the north, the inner and the outer narthexes and the chapel for tombs (parecclesion) to the south.

Chora Church
Chora Church

Mosaics (Chora Church)

Most of the interior mosaics are depicting the lives of Christ and the Virgin Mary. Then Here are some of the mosaics of Chora Museum for you. All the mosaics dates back to 14th Century.

Biblical stories about the life of Jesus are the main subjects on the mosaics


Frescos are mainly decoration the Paracclesion – side chapel for tombs. Fresco  is a technique of mural painting on freshly laid wet lime plaster.

The most famous depiction at the paracclesion is Resurrection of Jesus. Also People known it as Anastasis which means ‘Standing Up Again’ in Greek. In this fresco is about the resurrection of Jesus. In Christianity; Jesus will be resurrected. Then he will break the door of hell to take Adam and Eve out. On the below photo, you will see that Jesus is holding the hand of man (Adem) and women (Eve) and pulling them out from their sarcophagus.

Resurrection of Jesus - Chora Church Museum, Istanbul

We will highly recommend you to have an expert tour guide to go through from all this mosaics one by one with their cronological order. To please click here, book a PRIVATE GUIDE.

Please see also Travel Tips for Istanbul and Learn more about ISTANBUL

For opening hours, here is the Official Web Page of the museum. Here is the map of Kariye Museum | Chora Church.

Click here to learn More About Topkapi Palace

Impetus Travel (TURSAB Licence Number:11125) is the official tour operator for the services.

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