Holy Saviour of Chora

Near the Byzantine city walls, The Church of the Holy Savior in Chora is the most interesting Byzantine church in Istanbul, with its facade and high drum small domes. The church houses the best Byzantine frescoes and mosaics, by far the most extensive collection of Byzantine paintings in Istanbul and among the best and most beautiful in the world.

Originally built in the 4th century as the ‘Church of the Holy Savior Outside the Walls,’ the building you see today was built in the late 11th century, with much repair and restructuring in the following centuries. All of the interior decoration, the famous mosaics, and the mural paintings date back to the 12th century. The frescos generally refer to the theme of death and resurrection.

For four centuries after the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul, this church served as a mosque, and today it’s open to visitors as a museum.