Covered in intricate mosaics and massive murals in Late Byzantine style, the Church of St Savior in Chora has been standing since the 4th century. The present day structure is thought to have been built in the 11th century, then converted to a mosque by Ottomans in the 16th century. Today it functions as a secular museum, housing what are considered to be some of the world’s finest frescoes and mosaics. The interior of the church has been especially well preserved throughout time. In total there are more than 50 mosaic panels, most dating back to 1310 and in near perfect condition.
The frescoes depict the lives of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, as well as saints and icons of Christianity. Above the door to the nave in the inner narthex, you’ll find one of the most spectacular mosaics of Theodore Metochites, the director of the Byzantine Treasury, making an offering to Christ.
Located outside the city walls in the Erdinekapı district of Istanbul, the church costs 15 Turkish Lira to enter. There is a nearby Chora Museum open daily from 9 am to 7 pm that explains the history behind the structure. The nearest tram stop is Edirnekapi.