Chora Museum (Kariye Muzesi), Istanbul, Turkey

Thursday, February 28, 2013
Chora museum ceiling
The Chora Museum, or Kariye Muzesi, is a former church in Istanbul that is one of the loveliest remaining examples of Byzantine art and architecture.
Chora museum exterior
Kariye means "countryside" in Turkish.  When the church was originally built in the fifth century, it lay just outside of the Istanbul - or Constantinople, as it was called then - city walls.  And like so many other buildings, it began small and was altered several times over the centuries.  One of the latest was financed by Theodore Metochites, a well-off scholar and statesman.  It was under his supervision that much of the church was built, and the majority of the mosaics and frescoes were designed.  Many Biblical stories were told in the artwork, with much of it focussed on the New Testament and the life of Jesus.
Dome portrays Virgin Mary and Jesus
Sometime between 1495 and 1511, the church was converted to a mosque.  And in keeping with the Muslim tradition of banning images in places of worship, the artwork was covered with plaster and paint and, in other places, hidden behind doors.
Jesus saving Adam and Eve
In the mid-twentieth century, the building was converted into a museum and restoration work began to reveal the artwork.  Today, travellers to Turkey can visit this amazing building and its artwork, that survived several incarnations as a church, a conversion to a mosque, and a restoration to a museum.

"Koimesis"
(Thanks to the Chora Museum website for much of this information.)

29 comments:

GratefulPrayerThankfulHeart said...

Love seeing these photos! My husband and I have recently watched programs on the Wealth Channel that feature many of these incredible places.

Kathy said...

I have always wanted to visit Turkey! Your photos are gorgeous, Beth!

Belinda said...

It's fascinating to see the histories literally written in the walls.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Wow! This is amazing. And amazing to think of all the places you've traveled to.

Velva said...

Stunning! The history! The art! Beautiful.

Velva

Medeia Sharif said...

I love how your blog and pics take me around the world.

Gloria said...

look beautiful Beth, amazing pics!

Valerie said...

Gorgeous photos, Beth! For a few short minutes I was transported away from the snow and ice- Oh, to be beautiful in Istanbul right now. :)

yummychunklet said...

Great photos!

Food Gal said...

It's funny, but I never find myself visiting churches unless I'm traveling. But the ones abroad are such masterpieces. This one proves just that.

Joanne said...

The church is a piece of art in itself!

Haddock said...

Lovely.
That painting "Koimesis" has so much detail in it.

Monet said...

Ah just beautiful, Beth. Churches that old transport me to a very quiet and special place. Ryan and I can't wait to visit Turkey. I hope you are having a beautiful weekend!

Guru Uru said...

What a beautiful way to see such gorgeous history :D

Cheers
CCU

Jemi Fraser said...

Wow! These are stunning - you've been to so many great places!

Barbara said...

Wonderful, Beth. I've always wanted to visit Turkey and the one time I went on a cruise, I was running a fever of 102, and the doctor stood at the gangplank and prevented me from leaving. ( I had already snuck off on Crete, and he was furious.)
So enjoyed your photos!

Beth said...

Oh, Barbara, that's so disappointing! (But at least you saw Crete. I haven't been there and it's definitely on my bucket list.)

Claire Davis said...

How interesting that the images were hidden. Really beautiful!

Liz Berg said...

My parents loved visiting Turkey...and it's been on my bucket list ever since their visit. Thanks so much for your kind note...it meant the world. xo

Raina said...

Beautiful! It is amazing that the artwork was not destroyed.

Natalie G said...

Looks like a truly beautiful place!

Katerina said...

You reminded me yet another one time how much I want to go to Konstantinople!

Jen Laceda | Tartine and Apron Strings said...

Ahhhh...Turkey is on MY bucket list!!! When will I ever set foot on Istanbul. Would love to take my kids there, too! Thanks for sharing some wonderful photos.

Angie's Recipes said...

It looks majestic!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Great pictures! I've never been to Istanbul, but would dearly love to. Someday I will! But until then, I'll contend myself with your pics. Thanks!

artofnaturalliving.com said...

Beautiful. Even more amazing to think that had all been covered and needed restoration!

Amy said...

Lovely photos and it looks like such a beautiful place to visit.

amy (fearless homemaker) said...

Beautiful! I have to admit that I've never considered Turkey in my travels, but now I"m intrigued. Going to do some research about it! =)

Patty said...

Wonderful photos! I'm sorry we missed this on our visit to Istanbul-so much to see there;) I hope to get back one day!

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