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Dating back to 4th century, the Hagia Irene (Aya İrini in Turkish), formerly church, now a museum and a center cultural activities and exhibitions, is situated inside the 1st court of the Topkapi Palace, in the Sultanahmet neighborhood of Fatih district, along the Sultanahmet Sqaure.
Hagia Irene also called as “St. Eirene” or “St.Irene’s” Church. It is one of the oldest Byzantium churches in Istanbul, was the 2nd largest church of the Eastern Roman Empire after Hagia Sophia.
History of the Hagia Irene Museum
“Hagia Irene” means “Holy Peace” in Greek. Hagia Irene was first built as a basilica with three naves, on the order of during the reign of Constantinos the Great (306–337), on top of a temple, out of wood.
Hagia Irene consists of three sections that include; the naos, narthex and atrium, while the standing atrium is the only surviving sample from the Byzantine period.
After the Nica riot during the rule of Emperor Justinianus on 532, both Hagia Irene and Hagia Sophia burned down and all are reconstructed. And afterwards, it also had damages due to earthquake restored again in 740.
The upper structure of Hagia Irene was completely renovated during the restorations of the Byzantium period and it gained its today’s appearance as a domed church with basilical plan.
After the conquest of Istanbul in 1453, Hagia Irene Church was not converted into a mosque like Hagia Sophia, it was used as an army warehouse.
Hagia Irene is now a museum today and also a venue for cultural activities and exhibitions. The high quality acoustic architecture makes Hagia Irene a great place for classical music events.
Hagia Irene was not open for visitors for many years but in 2018, it opened its door for visitors.
Visiting Hours & Admissions
Open every day except Tuesdays between 09:00-16:30
Closed on Tuesdays
Although it is situated inside the Topkapi Palace Museum, you are NOT able to enter Hagia Irene Museum with your Topkapi Palace ticket. You need to buy a separate ticket.
42 TL (about €6,50)
How to Get to There?
Hagia Irene is situated in the Sultanahmet neighborhood of Fatih district, inside the Topkapi Palace (in the 1st courtyard). See the location map.
The most practical way to get to Sultanahmet is via Bagcilar-Kabatas tram (T1 line).
- The closest tram stop is Sultanahmet.
- Sultanahmet Square and most of the connecting roads are closed for vehicle traffic except tram and tour buses.
- From Taksim, take the funicular to Kabatas (from taksim Square) or funicular to Karakoy (from Tunel square) and than take the tram.
- If you stay at the Sultanahmet hotels, than you easily walk to the museum.
Check our Sultanahmet page to see how to get to Sultanahmet in details.
Address: Sultanahmet, Fatih, Istanbul
Tel: +90 212 512 04 80 ; +90 212 236 90 00
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