Hagia Irene Museum (Guided Tour)
#240 in Istanbul
Hagia Irene or Holy Peace, was a Greek Eastern Orthodox church built under the orders of Emperor Constantine I over the ruins of a pagan temple as the first church in Constantinople. It served as the church of the Patriarchate until the Hagia Sophia basilica was built.
Due to fires and earthquakes, the church suffered damanges and was restored in several ocasions.
After Constantinople was conquered by the Ottomans, the chuch was located inside the walls of the Topkapı Palace and although it was not converted into a mosque as most other churches, most likely because the Ottoman sultan was more interested in the nearby Hagia Sophia Basilica, it still suffered damages under the hands of the Ottoman soldiers, the Janissaries, while they used the building as an arsenal and warehouse.
Before the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, it served during 70 years as the Military Museum; it was closed for a long period after which it was restored and opened again as a museum in 2014 until today and eventually, due to the excellent acoustics of the building, classical music concerts are held
An amazing skip-the-line guided tour where you will be able to visit the beautiful former church.