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Chora Museum (Chora Monastery)

Coordinate: 41º01’52.26’’K 28º56’20.60’’D Height: 60 m

The first construction date is unknown, however, it is assumed to be in the 8th century or earlier. Ruined monastery at the end of 11th century war repaired or rebuilt by Maria Dukaina, mother-in law of Emperor Alexius Komnenos (1081-1118). 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 got the shape after a radical repair in years between 1315 and 1321 by Theodore Metochites, one of the leading politicians of the period. Collapsed dome was rebuilt, an outer narthex, additional structure to its north and a parecclesion to its south were added.

1-Main venue, 2- Interior narthex, 3- Outer narthex, 4- Parecclesion, 5- Entrance of the Museum.

After the conquest of Istanbul in 1453, it remained empty for a while, and the church converted into a mosque adding a minaret with a single balcony in 1511.

 

Parecclesion added by Theodore Metochites in the south of the structure in the first half of the 14th century, covers the main venue as an “L” combining with outer 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, with Fethiye Museum, are the beautiful examples of 14th century Byzantine art. Narthexes are decorated with mosaics picturing scenes from the Bible and figures of saints; parecclesion 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.