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.
Most of the interior is covered with mosaics depicting the lives of Christ and the Virgin Mary. Look out for the Khalke Jesus, which shows Christ and Mary with two donors: Prince Isaac Comnenos and Melane, daughter of Byzantine emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos. This is under the right dome in the inner narthex. On the dome itself is a stunning depiction of Jesus and his ancestors (The Genealogy of Christ). On the narthex’s left dome is a serenely beautiful mosaic of Mary and the Baby Jesus Surrounded by her Ancestors.
In the nave are three mosaics: Christ; Mary and the Baby Jesus; and the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin (Assumption) – turn around to see the latter, as it’s over the main door you just entered. The ‘infant’ being held by Jesus is actually Mary’s soul.
To the right of the nave is the parecclesion, a side chapel built to hold the tombs of the church’s founder and his relatives, close friends and associates. This is decorated with frescos that deal with the themes of death and resurrection, depicting scenes taken from the Old Testament. The striking painting in the apse known as the Anastasis shows a powerful Christ raising Adam and Eve out of their sarcophagi, with saints and kings in attendance. The gates of hell are shown under Christ’s feet. Less majestic but no less beautiful are the frescos adorning the dome, which show Mary and 12 attendant angels. On the ceiling between this dome and the apse, the Last Judgement strikingly depicts this scene from the Book of Revelation in dazzling white with gilt accents, with the rolling up of heaven represented by a coiling motif surrounded by the choirs of heaven.