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In the 16th century, the Church of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus was converted into a mosque and acquired not just a minaret but also a courtyard with cells opening off it which now serve as craft workshops. Recently the mosque was comprehensively restored. Opinions vary as to the end result. Küçük Aya Sofya still functions as a mosque, but another of the city’s great Byzantine churches, the Theotokos Pammakaristos, better known as the Fethiye Cami, has been subdivided so that one side can be used for mosque services while the other is a museum. This gem of a building deserves to receive many more visitors than currently cross its threshold.
15 Minutes Before Tour
The Chora Church was originally built as part of a monastery complex outside the walls of Constantinople, to the south of the Golden Horn. Literally translated, the church’s full name was the Church of the Holy Saviour in the Country.
A full day to visit the most interesting Byzantine churches in the city the Church of the Holy Savior of Chora, called in Turkish, Kariye Camii. The mosaics and frescoes are by far the most important and extensive series of Byzantine paintings in the city and among the best and most beautiful in the world. Visit the monastic complex composed by the Church of the Theotokos Panachrantos (the Immaculate Mother of God) the church of St. John the Baptist and the funerary chapel, called the monastery of Constantine Lips now know as Molla Fenari Camii. Visit the magnificent Hagia Sophia, Originally known as the Great Church, because of its large size in comparison with the other churches of the Christian World. After an intensive visit to the Cathedral of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, our last visit for this day before proceeding to your hotel is to the Monastery of St. Sergius and St. Bacchus now called Kucuk aya sofya Camii. (L)