All About Istanbul
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Latest News

New openings in 2024

The St. Saviour in Chora (Kariye) is re-opened after years of restorations as a mosque and a museum.

Entrance fees in 2024

As of 1st of March 2024, many State museums' fees are set in Euros, to be paid its equivalent in Turkish Liras.

Museum Pass

You can buy the "Museum Pass" for foreigners which is valid for 5 days in various museums of Istanbul.

Museums open 7 days

Many State museums in Istanbul operate 7 days a week, except Topkapi Palace.

More News

Hagia Irene

Interior of Hagia IreneHagia Irene means "Divine Peace" in Greek, so it was a church dedicated to holly peace, not to a Saint Irene as it's wrongly pronounced today. It's beleived that the church was first built in the 4th century AD over the ruins of a pagan temple by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine I. The wooden construction was burned during the Nika Riot in 532 AD and it was renovated by Justinian I, rapresenting typical characteristics of early Byzantine architecture. During the following centuries the church was restored several times because of the earthquakes and some big fires.

The Janissaries used the church as an arsenal after the Conquest of Constantinople in 1453. The staircases to the galleries and the inscription on the gate was added by the Ottomans. In the 19th century it was opened as a sort of museum displaying old weapons. At the beginning of the 20th century it was closed and remained empty for many years, until they started the restorations.

Today, Hagia Irene church is located in the first courtyard of the Topkapi Palace behind Hagia Sophia, and is called as Aya Irini in Turkish. At present, some classic music concerts or art exhibitions are organized in the building during important festivals. Inside, nothing much remained from its original mosaics but a large cross above its main narthex, showing us that they were never re-made after the Iconoclastic period.

Hagia Irene was closed, except for special occasions, for restorations until April 2014, and then it's opened to public as a museum. The entrance fee in 2024 is 500 TL per person if you buy it separately, or you can have it combined with Topkapi Palace when you buy its ticket. The museum is open everyday between 09:00-17:00, except on Tuesdays.

Hope to see you soon in Istanbul.