Chora Church: Another Byzantine church in Istanbul is being converted into a mosque

Chora Church Istanbul

According to the Yeni Şafak newspaper, on February 23, the Chora Church will open its gates as a mosque for Friday prayers.

After Hagia Sophia, another Byzantine (Eastern Roman) church in Istanbul, which functioned as a museum for 79 years, was converted into a mosque.

According to the Yeni Şafak newspaper, on February 23, the Chora Monastery will open its gates as a mosque for Friday prayers.

Chora Church Istanbul

In 2020, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, together with Hagia Sophia, took the relevant decision to convert the museum of Chora Church into a mosque. And while preparations had been made for October 2020, the decision to do some restoration works was suddenly frozen.

Turkish newspaper Yeni Şafak reports that the long-term restoration of the "Kariye Camii" has ended. Specially designed carpets were laid for the conversion works.

"The historic mosque, furnished with specially designed red carpets, is scheduled to open for worship on Friday, February 23. On the other hand, it became known that the mosaics and frescoes in the historic mosque were preserved during the restoration and will be open to visitors," the newspaper wrote.

The Chora Church is located on the northwest side of the historical centre of Istanbul and a short distance from the Byzantine-era Adrianople Gate. It owes its name to identifying the mosaics of Christ as the "Land of the Living" and of Panagia as the "Land of the Displaced" in its interior.

It was founded in the 6th century from the old monastic complex. In the 12th century, the church was built, while at the beginning of the 14th century, it received a radical renovation.

Chora Church Istanbul

Some of the best examples of Byzantine art mosaics are preserved to this day in the Monastery of Chora.

It is a famous for its architecture and its elaborate decoration was crafted during the Paleologos era. After the Fall of Constantinople, it functioned as an Orthodox Church but was converted into a mosque after a few decades.

Chora Church Istanbul

After the end of the Second World War, the building was repaired, and since then, it has functioned as a museum.

The walls and the dome of the catholicon were decorated with exquisitely crafted mosaics and frescoes depicting scenes from the life of Christ and the Virgin.

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