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Hagia Irene

Listed under Churches & Abbeys in Istanbul, Turkey.

  • Photo of Hagia Irene
  • Photo of Hagia Irene
Photo of Hagia Irene
Photo by flickr user levork
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Hagia Irene doesn't have the same lyrical sound to it as Hagia Sophia, but it means the same thing - the Church of Saint Irene - and is the name of the oldest church in Istanbul, built on a temple site in the 4th Century. The current appearance, with the decorative mosaics and frescoes dates from the 8th Century post-earthquake.

Over it's history it's also been an armoury, a weapons museum, a concert hall, hosted a fashion show and is now a museum. It was actually the first museum in the Ottoman Empire, but that wasn't in it's current museum incarnation but a previous one.

You need admission permission, which you can get quite easily from the Hagia Sophia - once you have permission the church is open every day but Monday.

Written by  Eric Hallum.

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