The Churches of Constantinople

Constantinople - now known as Istanbul - has changed significantly since it fell to the Ottomans in 1453. Domed mosques with minarets are now integral to its skyline, which now increasingly has skyscrapers as well. Underneath it all, though, the Byzantine influence can still be strongly fell. While Ottoman architects like Mimar Sinan had their own style, at the core is the Byzantine dome. This can perhaps best be seen in the Byzantine churches of Constantinople, scattered across the old city. Hagia Sophia, the most famous building, of course was a church for almost a thousand years. It is in no way the only remaining church from the Byzantine Era. Of the dozens of Byzantine churches remaining, most were converted into mosques, meaning their original art and decoration has been lost or significantly altered. In fact, the only one that was not converted into a mosque is the Church of Theotokos Mouchliotissa. Hagia Eirene is the only Byzantine church which was taken from the Orthodox Church, but not used as a mosque. In addition, there are three churches which allow us to understand how the other former churches once appeared: Hagia Sophia, Chora Museum and Pammakaristos (Fethiye Mosque). There are several other noteworthy churches, including the Church of Saints Sergius and BacchusAtik Mustafa Pasa Mosque and Theotokos Kyriotissa. We can also look to other cities, such as ThessalonikiRavenna and even Venice to understand how these former churches once appeared. In addition, there are several Byzantine churches in the hinterland of Constantinople including several monastery caves - and there are other pre-Ottoman churches in Galata as well.

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Hagia Sophia and Sultanahmet Archaeologi
Parekklesion of Chora.jpg
 Küçük Ayasofya Mosque.jpg
Sergius and Bacchus
Monastery of Christ Pantokrator.jpg
Pantokrator Monastery
 Kalenderhane Mosque.jpg
Theotokos Kyriotissa
John Prodromos in Trullo.jpg
St. John the Baptist in Trullo
Gül Mosque (“Hagia Theodosia”).jpg
Hagia Theodosia
Vefa Church Mosque.jpg
Vefa Kilise Mosque
Stoudios Monastery.jpg
Monastery of Stoudios
Hagia Eirene.jpg
Monastery of the Theotokos Pammakaristos
Panagia Mouchliotissa.jpg
Theotokos Mouchliotissa
Monastery of the Myrelaion.jpg
Atik Mustafa Pasha Mosque.jpg
Atik Mustafa Paşa Mosque
Monastery of Lips.jpg
Monastery of Constantine Lips
Monastery of Christ Pantepoptes.jpg
Christ Pantepoptes
Zoodochos Pege.jpg
Zoodochos Pege
Church of St. Polyeuktos.jpg
St. Polyeuctus