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“Money-grab!”
Review of Hagia Irene Museum

Hagia Irene Museum
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$82.98*
and up
Istanbul Small-Group Walking Tour: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace...
Ranked #161 of 1,061 things to do in Istanbul
Attraction details
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
42 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Money-grab!”
Reviewed March 24, 2014 via mobile

We paid our entrance fee of 20TL each, but we're totally disappointed on going inside. It was a damp, dilapidated shell of a building with absolutely nothing to see. I think our visit lasted all of five minutes.

If the authorities are planning to renovate / restore this church, that would be great. But charging the entrance fee they did in order to raise money for it is not on. Avoid!

Visited March 2014
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Thank Rajbury
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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244 reviews from our community

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Southern Highlands, AUS
Level 6 Contributor
72 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 207 helpful votes
“Loved to visit, but very expensive”
Reviewed March 23, 2014

Having only recently opened up to the public, this was a place that I had wanted to visit. It is located in the grounds of the Topkapi Palace just behind the Hagia Sophia. The entrance fee is 20TL which for what you are going to see I feel is very expensive (especially when Topkapi Palace is only 25TL). Anyway I did enjoy my visit. The only way I can describe it is that it is hauntingly beautiful. There is no decoration within the church other than the large cross which is on the front top dome. It is pretty much just an empty shell of what would have been an amazing church is it's prime.
As you enter take a look at the artwork on the facade of the entrance (this is all the decoration there really is). There is a ramp that you go down into the main body of the church, once in it opens out to a large area. Look up and take in just how big it is with the large domes and don't forget just how old this building is! The original church was built in the 4th century, burned down in 532 and then in the 8th century was damaged by an earthquake and was restored. The church today is pretty much the building from this time (it was enlarged around the 11th or 12th century).
There are three levels however they have blocked off the stairs so you can only go around the ground level. It is not a location that you will spend a long time visiting. You can get some great photos depending on how the light is on the day you visit.
The church has been recently used for music recitals and I would love to have attended on in here as I think it would be amazing. There is no information about the church inside, no boards explaining anything about the building ect which I think is very much needed. Hopefully in time it will be improved and I look forward to seeing it again.
As I was travelling by myself the price was expensive but I would probably avoid going if I had to pay for an entire family as I think you will only spend a maximum of 30 minutes in there. I so want to give it more than an average rating but due to the price and lack of information provided onsite I just can't.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank Tams_in_Oz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Meyreuil, France
Level 6 Contributor
233 reviews
62 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 131 helpful votes
“Only for serious antiquity and church lovers”
Reviewed March 19, 2014

Hagia irene or Aya Irini -- the former Church of Divine Peace -- may be the oldest church in old Constantinople and it has only recently been reopened. Sitting in the grounds of the Topkapi Palace, it was never a mosque but stripped of its Christian decorations it was used as a storage area for munitions. Now it has been converted into a concert hall. The price to see this vacant, empty space is 20 Turkish Lira, a bit steep for so little to see. Perhaps the money goes to further refurbishment. Still, it is a stunning space, huge really, and haunting in its stark beauty. I give it a very good notice only because of its age and general structural condition.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
Thank JoeBaileyCole
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge
Level 6 Contributor
286 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
“Don't Waste Your Money”
Reviewed March 10, 2014

Take pictures on the outside, don't bother with the inside. We paid 40tl for the two of us to see a cold, damp brick church with not much going for it. Don't waste your time or money. A couple of stray cats in the church were the best part of it.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
Thank Andrea S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
42 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“ticket too expensive for what it is”
Reviewed March 8, 2014

ticket cost 20TL, which seems quite high for what it is, essentially being a site of empty historical church building with practically no explanations on anything inside, which is mostly empty.

There are many, many similar historic churches around which don't cost this much, while having more 'interesting' things inside on display.

not worth the 5 minutes inside

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
Thank bellemonde
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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