"Take a peek--if you can" Hagia Irene - Ayia Irini Tip by terrycowan

Hagia Irene - Ayia Irini, Istanbul: 11 reviews and 18 photos


Aya Irini Kilisesi, or Church of the Divine Peace, dates back to the 540s during the reign of Justinian. It actually predates the Aya Sofya. Many of the old Byzantine emperors were buried in the walled courtyard behind. Significantly, when the Ottomans conquered Constantinople, they did not make this church into a mosque. Rather, munitions were stored in the sanctuary. In time, the church came to be within the outer walls of Topkapi Palace.

The church is usually closed and only open for concerts. When I was there last, the church was open and being set up for a concert. So, we just walked on in and had a look around. None of the icons or artwork remains, but a beautiful cross is still visible above the nave.

Address: Topkapi Sarayi 1, Sultanahmet
Directions: Just inside the first gate of Topkapi Palace, on the left.

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Apr 21, 2005
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