|Hagia Irene was commisioned by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century|
|Hagia Irene - old foundations. Hagia Sophia in background|
Hagia Irene is ranked as older as the impressive Hagia Sophia, commisioned by Emperor Constantin himself in the 4th century, even though it was severely damaged by an eartquake in the 8th century, and then rebuilt. The church is said to have been preceeded by a pagan temple, meaning that the site has ben used for religious purposes for 2000 years! Hagia Irene is probably the oldest historic site I have ever visited.
|The walls of the Topkapi Palace surrounds the Hagia Irene|
After the conquest of Constantinopel in 1453 the Hagia Irene was used as an arsenal and warehouse for war booty. It was restored in 1846 and became the first Turkish museum. It is open by special appointment (except Mondays), and sadly we had not made one, so we had to admire the exterior - only. I would, however, if visiting Istanbul, tried to get admission to Hagia Irene.
Vis Istanbul A-Z 2009 Updated January 12th 2012 i et større kart