Hagia Irene Church

One of Istanbul's oldest structures, the Hagia Irene Church, is a Byzantine masterpiece that has seen centuries of history and faith. This guide contains everything you need to know about the Hagia Irene Church.

HISTORY / ARCHITECTURE

The Rich History of Hagia Irene Church

Among the Byzantine churches in Istanbul, Hagia Irene Church has the longest history. After Hagia Sophia, it is Istanbul's second-biggest Byzantine church, and the biggest Roman temple from the time period. Unlike Hagia Sophia, it was not transformed into a mosque.

It was constructed in the early 4th century, during the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine (324–337). He ordered the construction of the Hagia Irene Church by himself. The name Hagia Irene means "Holy Peace," but it was also the name of a saint who lived in the same century.

Hagia Irene, which shared a courtyard wall with Hagia Sophiawas set on fire in 532 during the Nika riots. Emperor Justinian restored Hagia Irene. Although construction began in 532, its exact completion date is unknown.

It was included in the grounds of Topkapı Palace after the conquest of Istanbul. The church's structure has not changed significantly because it was not converted into a mosque following its conquest. Many years later, it was used for warehouse, armoury, and museum projects in Turkey. During the reign of III. Ahmet, various objects from all over the empire were brought to the church and displayed in two separate sections. From 1908 to 1949, the church also served as a military museum.

Why Should I Visit the Hagia Irene Today?

Aside from its rich historical past, Hagia Irene Church has many features. Perhaps the most important of these is that it is a focal point for Christian-faith sightseeing. The church hosts cultural events and exhibitions. Furthermore, due to its exceptional acoustic performance, Hagia Irene now primarily serves as a concert hall for classical music concerts in Istanbul. Although it's currently under restoration, since 1980, the Istanbul International Music Festival has presented many concerts here in the summer.

Things to Know About Hagia Irene Church

  • Hagia Irene is located in the first courtyard of Topkapi Palace and needs a combo ticket or spare ticket.
  • The Hagia Irene Church is closed on Tuesdays, May 1, the first day of Ramadan, and the first day of the Feast of the Sacrifice.
  • There is no dress code.

Where is it Located?

The Hagia Irene Church is located in Istanbul, in the first courtyard of Topkapi Palace, near Hagia Sophia. From Sultanahmet Square, continue towards Topkap Palace to reach the church. 

Adress: Cankurtaran, Topkapı Sarayı No:1, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul

How Much are the Ticket Prices?

Entrance Fee For Foreign Tourists: 300 lira
Entrance Fee For Domestic Tourists: 600 lira.

Combo Tickets Entrance Fee For Foreign Tourists: 750 lira
Combo Tickets Entrance Fee For Domestic Tourists: 150 lira.

How Long Does a Visit Take?

Currently under retrofitting construction, visitors can only see the main hall.


Visiting the main hall of the church would take 30 minutes. This is where you will find the most impressive architecture, including the marble columns and the dome.

When is the Best Time to Visit?

Best time to visit in the morning before the crowds arrive.

Closing Days: Hagia Irene Church is closed every Tuesday, as well as on May 1, the first day of Ramadan, and the first day of the Sacrifice Feast.

Plan Your Visit to the Hagia Irene Church

Plan Your Visit to the Hagia Irene Church

Location

Located in the first courtyard of Topkapi Palace, bedind the Hagia Sophia.

To reach the church, begin walking towards Topkapı Palace from Sultanahmet Square. You will reach it in 15 minutes. Enter the first courtyard of the Topkapı Palace and continue to walk 50 metres.


Adress: Cankurtaran, Topkapı Sarayı No:1, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul


>> More information

Getting There

- Walk: Located in Sultanahmet Square, you can walk from the Grand Bazaar in 25 minutes.

- Marmaray: Sirkeci Station, just a 15-minute walk away

- Tram: Sultanahmet and Gülhane station.

- Bus: 18-minute walk away at Sarayburnu Station.

>> More information

Opening Hours

- Winter Season: Hagia Irene Church can be visited between 09.00 and 17.00, with the last entrance to the church being 16.00.

- Summer Season: Hagia Irene Church can be visited between 09.00 and 19.30, with the last entrance to the church being 16.00.

 >> Check out for additional information about closing dates and the best times to visit

* Everyday open from 09:00 am - 07:30: pm (Tuesday closed)

* Hagia Irene Church is closed every Tuesday, as well as on May 1, the first day of Ramadan, and the first day of the Sacrifice Feast.

* Working hours may change on special occasions and seasons.


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Frequently Asked Questions About Hagia Irene Church

Where is the Hagia Irene Museum located in Istanbul?

The Hagia Irene Museum is located in the first yard of Topkapı Palace, Sultanahmet, Fatih.

Is photo shooting allowed inside the Hagia Irene?

Yes, you can take pictures in the Hagia Irene Museum.

Are there other attractions to visit around the Hagia Irene?

There are numerous attractions around the Hagia Irene, such as Topkapı Palace and Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque. There are also lots of shops and cafés you could visit around.

Is a guided tour of Hagia Irene recommended?

A guided tour is recommended, especially for visitors who want to learn about the architectural art and unique history of the church.

How much does it cost to visit the Hagia Irene Museum?

When visiting the Hagia Irene Museum, you can purchase a combo ticket that also includes admission to Topkapi Palace.
Or you can buy only Hagia Irene tickets, which cost 300 TL for foreign tourists and 60 TL for domestic tourists.

 >> Check the best combo tickets for you!