This is a fascinating building, quietly tucked away from all hustle and bustle of the main historical sites. It was late in the afternoon and it was only me in the building. A very polite man, who was obviously looking after the mosque, invited me to get inside as I was not sure whether I was allowed to. I only had to take my shoes off (I was not asked to cover my head) and then to step inside. I was charmed by what I saw: it was an impressive mixture of two religious cultures.
The building is a mosque now but the original architecture has survived remarkably well, not like the original interior decoration. It must have been a beautiful church – with the elegant two-storey colonnade and walls covered in golden mosaics (like those that survived from this period in Ravenna) and probably frescoes as well. The capitals of the marble columns are splendid and still bear the monograms of Justinian and Theodora.
It was interesting to learn that this edifice is even older that one of the present museum Haghia Sophia. It was begun by Justinian and his Empress Theodora in 527, five years before the commencement of the building of Haghia Sofia itself. Likely, the Sains Sergius and Bacchus was a model for St Sophia. Today, it is also known as the Little Haghia Sophia because of its resemblance to the Great Church.
SS. Sergius and Bacchus served as a church for nearly 1,000 years after its founding, but then in the first decade of the sixteenth century it was converted into a mosque. SS. Sergius and Bacchus were two Roman soldiers martyred for their espousal of Christianity. The saints were especially dear to Justinian because they saved his life some years before he came to the throne.
It was my last day of our five days break in Istanbul and was really glad that I didn’t miss seeing this church. It is just less than a 10 minutes’ walk from the Hippodrome and 5 minutes from our Dara Hotel. The area, where the church is located, is residential and it’s pretty nice to see how people live there.
To me this church-mosque is one of the most charming architectural treasures in Istanbul.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.