SAINT-SAUVEUR-IN-CHORA (KARIYE CAMII)
Petit Futé's opinion on SAINT-SAUVEUR-IN-CHORA (KARIYE CAMII)
Come and admire sumptuous mosaics in this ancient Byzantine church, which was mosqueed to become a museum today.
Small in size but simply magnificent - Istanbul's most beautiful Byzantine mosaics are to be seen at the Kariye Museum. These fabulous mosaics and frescoes describe the life of Jesus and Mary, different saints of the Church, but what remains most interesting is the image-based narrative of the life of Mary and the apocryphal Gospels. Today they constitute one of the most beautiful artistic ensembles in the Byzantine world. The mosaics mainly date from 1315 to 1321. The three cycles developed in the frescoes and mosaics (the Virgin, Christ and the symbolism of the parecclésion) are unique in their kind. There are three hundred isolated scenes or figures, including 66 portraits on the genealogy of Christ, and about twenty works on the life of the Virgin. The word chora may have a deeper meaning than the one of "field" that was given to it solely because of the eccentric location of the church. Indeed, one of the images of Christ is accompanied by the inscription I chora ton zoton ("the land of the living", "field" of eternal life). Following the conquest of Constantinople, the building was converted into a mosque. The frescoes and mosaics are plastered or covered with wooden panels, and will wait for a few centuries for their restoration by the American Institute of Byzantine Studies. This took place between 1948 and 1956, but a first partial cleaning was carried out in 1876.
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Open from 9am to 7pm (5pm in winter). Input: 45 TL.
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