Guided Tours Istanbul – Is it a church, a mosque or a museum?!
Both Chora and Hagia Sophia are part of Guided Tours Istanbul . As there has always been a comparison between Chora Church and Hagia Sophia, though much smaller in size, just like it, Chora might as well have suffered the crisis of identity.
The church’s full name was the Church of the Holy Saviour in the Country. Originally it was a part of a monastery complex outside the walls of Constantinople, to the south of Golden Horn, in the early 5th century. Chora is the Greek word for ‘countryside’. Where the church once was, was the country area out of the 4th century city walls of Constantine the Great. Later in the 5th century, when Theodosius II built his famous double line walls for the defense of the city, the church became incorporated within these city defenses and practically Chora church was no longer in the countryside. However, the name Chora was stayed.
Then, in 1453 during the last siege of Constantinople, the icon of Theotokos Hodegetria – a depiction of Virgin Mary, or the protector of the city, was brought to Constantinople. Nevertheless, storm took the city. Around 50 years after the fall of the city, the Grand Vezier of the Sultan converts Chora Church into a mosque. Thus, Chora goes through another part of its life – as a mosque, for four centuries.