This ancient structure is located on the sixth hill of Istanbul . Near Edirnekapi in Fatih, Chora church was built inside the city walls. The name Chora, which means “country side” was given to this church because of great distance from the city center. This name was probably originaly given to a small churh built in the area in the 5th century, before the construction of the city walls; the same name was also given the churhes built afterwards same location. The current structure is known to date back to eighter the 11th or the 14th sentury. The interior mosaic and fresco designs are examples of Byzantine and Renaisance art. Chora church was converted in to a mosque in 1511 by the Ottoman Grand vizier Atik Ali Pasha. The building has one of large and three small domes is 7 meters. The building is remarkable for its mosaic panel and frescos. The interios of the building was constructed in the shape af a cross. The mosque was converted into a museum in 1935. It is open to the puplic everyday except Wednesday.
Chora Church History and Architecture
The first construction date is unknown, however, it is assumed to be in 8th century or earlier. Ruined monastery at the end of 11th century war repaired or rebuilt by Maria Dukaina, mother in low of Emperor Alexius Kommenos (1082- 1118). Isaac Komnenus, the younger son of Alexius, rebuilt the church in a larger size, and prepared a burial place in the narthex for himself.
It was an important religious center to emperors for being close to Blachernae Palace. It go to the shape after a redical repair in years between 1315 and 1321 by Theodore Metochites, one of the leading politicians of the period. Collapsed dome was rebuilt, an outher narthex, additional structure to its north and a paracclesion to its south were added.
After the conquest of Istanbul in 1453, it remained empty for a whil, and the church converted into a mosque adding a minaret with a single balcony in 1511.
Paracclesion added by the Theodore Metochites in the couth of the structure in the first half the 14th century, covers the main venue as an “L” combining with outher narthex in the west. In the center of this structure, which is a tomb chapel, a dome with 4.5 meters in diameter with a high puller rises. Mosaics and frescoes in Chora Museum are the beautiful examples of the 14th century Byzantine art. Narthexes are decorated with mosaics picturing scenes from the Bible and figures of saints; paracclesion is also decorated with frescoes. Plastic values of the bodies, facial expressions of the figures and used techniques indicate the start of a new era in art in Byzantine.