Church of St Saviour

One of the superb mosaics at St Saviour's Church.
One of the superb mosaics at St Saviour's Church.

This 11th century church is in the district of Chora. Because it's a little off the beaten track, most visitors to Istanbul never even discover it. But if you're prepared to seek it out, this Byzantine church is second only to the Haghia Sophia in its magnificence.

The mosaics and frescoes, added in the 14th century when the church was remodelled, are worth the trip there alone. Depicting Christian scenes from the Day of Judgement through to the Resurrection, these iconographic images are widely held to be among the best surviving examples of Byzantine art anywhere in the world.

Ironically, the reason the artwork is so well preserved is because when the church was converted to a centre of Islamic worship in the 16th century, the images were covered up by the worshippers. They were only revealed again in the 19th century.


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