Some participants of the Video Workshop in Istanbul visited the Kariye Museum – Chora Church – late August 2020. Bojana Dimitrovska created this short clip about the Kariye Museum which will be open as a mosque again after a decret by president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The Turkish word Kariye is derived from the ancient Greek word Chora meaning outside of the city (land). It is known that there was a chapel outside of the city before the 5th century when the city walls were erected. The first Chora Church was rebuilt by Justinianus (527-565) in place of this chapel. In the era of Komnenoi, it served as the court chapel for important religious ceremonies, thanks to its nearness to the Palace of Blachernae.
After continuing to serve as a church following the conquest of Istanbul in 1453, the building was converted into a mosque in 1511 by Vizier Hadim Ali Pasha. It was converted into a museum in 1945, and during the restoration in 1948-1959 carried out by the Byzantine Institute of America, the mosaics and frescoes were uncovered and brought to the daylight.