The old Hagia Irene was burnt down after the Nike Uprising together with the Hagia Sophia. A few years later, Emperor Justinianos rebuilt both of them (In the 530s).
It is planned as a Greek Cross with a dome in the middle placed on a basilica base. Its abscissa is covered with a half dome. The abscissa displays a golden cross mosaic left from the era of iconoclasm. It is the only church that is still standing in the Atrium. As it was located within the palace garden, it was never turned into a mosque. It has been turned into an arsenal where the guards would store their weapons. For this reason, the first museum of Turkey had been opened here by Fethi Pasha as a Military Museum, using these weapons. Since the 1980s, because of its acoustics, it is being used as a concert venue as well as an exhibition venue for various art events including the Istanbul Culture and Arts Festival.
Hagia Irene Ticket: 20 TL
Museum is open everyday except Tuesdays.
Winter Season: Between October 30th – April 15th
Museum, Harem and Hagia Irene can be visited between 9:00 AM – 4:45 PM
Attention: Ticket booths close at 4:00 PM
Summer Season: Between April 15th – October 30th
Museum, Harem and Hagia Irene can be visited between 9:00 AM – 6:45 PM
Attention: Ticket booths close at 6:00 PM
More information; topkapisarayi.gov.tr/en
Writer: Murat Belge