A contemporary historic museum in the first courtyard of the Topkapı Palace near Hagia Sophia, Hagia Irene is renowned not only as the first church in Istanbul but also as the birthplace of Turkish museology. Today, Hagia Irene is used as a concert hall particularly for classical music concerts, hosting doyens of music ranging from world-renowned chamber orchestras to piano and violin virtuosos.
Giants of classical music play the world’s finest notes in Hagia Irene
Having served as a concert hall since 1973, Hagia Irene is among İstanbul’s most cherished treasures with its history and splendor. Having hosted concerts by respected musicians and ensembles of classical and contemporary music including the world-renowned mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, Mischa Maisky, Amsterdam Sinfonietta Orchestra, Yuri Bashmet, St. Petersburg Russian Chamber Philharmonic, and London Chamber Orchestra as well as American singer and songwriter Raul Midon, who was nominated for the Grammy awards with his 2018 album, Turkish ney player, composer and producer Mercan Dede, who also produced the score of the campaign film promoting Turkey’s natural beauties entitled ‘Turkish Therapy,’ one of the hottest names among classical pianist in recent times, David Fray, rising star of jazz, Karsu, world-renowned violinist and the founder of Kremerata Baltica, Gidon Kremer, and violin virtuoso Viktoria Mullova, it is ideal for a delightful end of day event surrounded by history, culture and art on the historic peninsula right next to the Topkapı Palace.
A historic magnum opus in Istanbul
Hagia Irene, which means “Peace of God” or “Holy Peace” in Greek, is noteworthy as the biggest Byzantine church that was not converted into a mosque in İstanbul. Drawn with a basilica plan as a classical Roman place of worship, Hagia Irene is comprised of narthexes and abscissas. Its main dome is carried by four colossal 35-meter high elephant feet while its central courtyard is empty, like that of the Hagia Sophia. The upper floor of the structure was designed in the shape of a big Roman cross. When it was built, Hagia Irene was not only the first church in İstanbul, but also one of the biggest structures of the Roman Empire.
Turkey’s first museology work started at Hagia Irene
During the Ahmed III era, artifacts sent from all across the Ottoman Empire were collected at Hagia Irene under two categories including Mecma-i Esliha-i Atika (Ancient Guns Collection) and Mecma-i Asar-ı Atika (Ancient Relics Collection), making the venue the birthplace of museology in Turkey. Watch an exclusive video on Hagia Irene HERE.
Located in the Mediterranean and connecting Asia and Europe continents that are separated by famous Bosphorus, Turkey is a unique destination that welcomed last year about 40 million tourists. The country that has always been a hub for cultural interaction and home to varying climates inspires the visitors today with its history, nature and gastronomy that reflect the diversity of civilizations for centuries. Located at the crossroads of cultures, Turkey has a distinctive understanding of art & fashion which is the synthesis of tradition and modernity and its extremely dynamic shopping & entertainment life also attracts the visitors from all over the world. For more about Turkey, visit www.goturkey.com