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Church of Hagia Eirene

Coordinate: 41º00’34.60’’K 28º58’52.45’’D Height: 67 m

Hagia Eirene located in the First Courtyard of Topkapi Palace is the only Byzantine Church that its atrium (courtyard) survives. Justinian built the church at the same time with Hagia Sophia with a large monastic group. The structure damaged in an earthquake in 738 attained its current look after restored. The structure which wasn’t converted to a mosque in Ottoman era has come to the present unchanged.

The churched used as a weaponry from the early years of the conquest until 1846. Entrance of the main space of the structure is made from a door covered with a dome and riwaqs which was opened to the north in Ottoman era. There are gallery floors over the side naves of the church which is covered by two domes and has a rectangular plan. Golden gilded cross symbol in the apsi of the church is the only original decoration survived till today. The other original mosaics were destroyed in Iconoclasm Period. (726-843).

The church, which is left under the administration of Hagia Sophia Museum Directorate, was repaired and is used for classical music concerts for its ideal acoustic characteristics during the Istanbul Music Festival since 1973. It is closed to visitors