Ayasofya/the Haghia Sophia
The ‘Shrine of Holy Wisdom’ the marvellous Byzantine basilica built in the 6th Century marks the true beginning of the golden age of Justinianus, the conqueror of Africa and Italy, who achieved lasting fame through the complete revision of all Roman law, resulting in what is known today as the Corpus Juris Civilis. The domed construction of the sanctuary is an architectural innovation; and was so richly and artistically decorated that Justinian proclaimed, ‘Solomon, I have outdone thee!’. Mankind would have to wait for over a millennium before being able to build a cathedral that would surpass the gigantic size of Haghia Sophia. It was converted to a mosque following the Ottoman conquest of the city, by the order of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror in 1453; so that the young Sultan could fulfill a divine premonition by the Holy Prophet Mohammad himself. In 1935 the building was converted into a museum by the executive order of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey.
Chora Church, (Kariye Müzesi)
The most interesting Byzantine church, after Hagia Sophia, in Istanbul. The importance of the church does not rest with the building itself, but the frescoes and the mosaics, which are superb and reflect the magnificent heritage of Byzantine Art. The Chora Church Museum is open every day from 9 am to 4:30 pm except Wednesday.
There are no remains left from the original church and the first form of the present structure dates back to 11C. Maria Doukaina, mother-in-law of Alexius Comnenos I, founded the church between 1077-1081. The church that exists today was constructed after two centuries, the walls were reverted with superb mosaics and a pareclession was added and decorated with beautiful frescoes. The founder of the church was Theodore Metochites. He was also an astronomer, poet, theologian and philosopher. He actually lived a very sad life, and after Palaeologus was replaced by another emperor, he was sent into exile. After he came back to Constantinople, he devoted himself to the church as a monk and subsequently died there. Early in the 16C, Attic Ali Pasha converted the church to a mosque and the mosaics were covered with plaster. In 1948, it was restored by the Byzantine Institute of America and opened as a museum in 1958.
The mosaics in Chora Museum date back to the14th Century and are divided into 4 parts, those on the nave, outer narthex entrance, inner narthex and frescoes in the pareclession (funerary chapel).
Ekav / Education, Culture and Research Foundation
EKAV / Education, Culture and Research Foundation has started its operations on November 23rd, 1991, with the aim of carrying the concept of art to a wider area, and giving support to young artists of the future.
The Ekavart Gallery is a non-profit establishment under EKAV. The system work with donations. All the income earned through various activities is granted students as scholarships who are receiving art education, to support the artists of the future. Our Gallery is located in Süzer Plaza, under the Ritz Carlton Hotel.
The Ekavart Gallery aims at improving the quality of life in general and at the level of social consciousness within the general population through combining the language of art and esthetic values. Ever since the opening of the Gallery, solo and mixed exhibitions that included the works of the masters of Turkish art as well as the works of the younger generations, personal development seminars, signing days, workshops, concerts have been conducted there.
Istanbul Modern Museum
The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art is the first private museum in Turkey to exhibit modern and contemporary art collections and was founded in 2004.
Contact: 90 212 334-7300
Miniatürk exhibits 105 miniature models of the most prominent monumental works reflecting the heritage of Turkey.
Contact: 90 212 222-2882
Surely one of Istanbul’s loveliest seaside suburbs, Ortakoy, with its narrow cobbled streets, fine food and spectacular location under the Bosphorus Bridge- the first bridge to connect the European side of Istanbul to Asia- makes for a lovely day trip. Each Sunday, a large open air arts and craft market takes.
Distance: 10 minutes
Contact: 90 212 334-9900
Rahmi M. Koç Museum
The Rahmi M. Koç Museum is the first major museum in Turkey dedicated to the history of transportation, industry and communications.
Contact: 90 212 334-7300
Sakip Sabanci Museum
The historical mansion and new gallery annex are now a museum hosting national and foreign exhibitions.
Contact: 90 212 277-2200
The Archaeological Museum
The Archaeological Museum proudly displays more than 60,000 Greco-Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Anatolian antiquities.