Hagia Irene Museum Guided Tour

Normal ticket value: €10

Guided Tour
Free with Istanbul E-pass

Istanbul E-pass includes a Hagia Irene Museum Guided Tour. For details, please check "Hours & Meeting."

Days of the Week Tour Times
Mondays 09:00, 11:00, 13:45, 14:45, 15:30
Tuesdays Palace is closed
Wednesdays 09:00, 10:00, 11:00, 13:00, 14:00, 14:45, 15:30
Thursdays 09:00, 10:00, 11:15, 12:00, 13:15, 14:15, 14:45, 15:30
Fridays 09:00, 10:00, 10:45, 12:00, 13:00, 13:45, 14:30, 15:30
Saturdays 09:00, 10:15, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 13:45, 15:00, 15:30
Sundays 09:00, 10:15, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 13:30, 14:30, 15:30

Hagia Irene (Church) Museum Istanbul

The Church of Hagia Irene (Divine Peace) is a Byzantine church, which is in the first courtyard of Topkapi Palace. It was the first cathedral in Constantinapolis. Over the centuries, it was built 3 times. The church, as it currently stands, was built by Constantine V in the 8th century. It was an arsenal during the Ottoman Empire period. It became the very first museum in Turkey in the 19th century. After extensive restorations in modern days, it was opened as the "Hagia Irine Museum."

How Much is the Entrance Fee for the Museum?

The entrance fee for the museum is 500 Turkish Liras. You can buy tickets at the entrance. Please note that there may be long ticket lines during peak season. Entrance is free for Istanbul E-pass holders.

What Time is the Hagia Irene (Church) Museum open?

Hagia Irene Museum is open every day except Tuesdays.
It is open between 09:00-18:00 (The last entrance is at 17:00)

Where is the Hagia Irene Church located?

It is located in the first courtyard of the Topkapi Palace, just next to the entrance. The Topkapi Palace's first courtyard is a public park, so you don't need to pay for the palace entrance to visit the church.

From Old City Hotels; Get the T1 Tram to Sultanahmet station. From there, the museum is a short 10-minute walk away.

From Taksim Hotels; Take the funicular to Kabatas and take the T1 tram to Sultanahmet.

From Sultanahmet Hotels; The museum is within walking distance from the Sultanahmet area.

How Long Does it Take to Visit the Museum and What is the Best Time to Visit?

Visiting the museum takes around 10-15 minutes if you see it by yourself. Guided tours generally take about 20-30 minutes. We recommend visiting the museum in the morning when fewer tourists tend to visit.

General Information About the Hagia Irene (Church) Museum

The Church of Hagia Irene (Divine Peace) was built 3 times over the centuries. The first building was built by Constantine the Great (306-337). It served as the cathedral of the city until the construction of Hagia Sophia in 360. It is possible that the First Ecumenical Council of Constantinople in 381 was held in Hagia Irene.

Following the destruction of Hagia Sophia in 404, St. John Chrysostom Church's relics were brought to Constantinople from Asia Minor in 438 and they stayed in Hagia Irene before being transferred to the Holy Apostles Church of Constantinopolis.

The first building was burnt down during the Nika Revolt in 532. The second building was rebuilt by Justinianus (527-565). The plan of the building was a domed basilica. Next 200 years, some restorations were made because of fires. It was severely damaged by the earthquake in 740 and reconstructed by Constantine V (740-775).

Hagia Irene was used by Christians for a short period during the Mehmet II period, after the Ottoman conquest of the city in 1453. The building was located in the courtyard of the palace, was near the barracks of the Janissaries (Janissaries), and served as an arsenal. It was the Museum of Antiquities and the Military Museum from 1916 to 1917. Several sarcophagi were transported from here to the Museum of Antiquities (now Istanbul Archaeological Museums). After serving primarily as a concert hall for many years, it was opened as a museum in 2014. 

The plan of the Hagia Irene Church is around 57x32 meters. The diameter of the main dome is 16 meters. It was built with local limestones, red bricks, and mortar. The architectural features of the church are complicated because it was restored several times over the centuries. During the Ottoman period, the columns were replaced by smaller columns and blocks supported them. The Ottomans also built a new upper gallery and a new entrance. 

The mosaic decoration in the apse is the most noteworthy feature of Hagia Irene as it is a rare example of Iconoclast art. This style of art rejected the use of figural imagery in religious art, substituting figures with symbols.

The Final Word

Built as a Christian church during the Byzantine period, the structure now entertains its visitors as a museum. The free entrance to the museum is included in Istanbul E-pass. It is an unmissable place on your Istanbul trip.

Hagia Irene Tour Times

Hagia Irene is part of the Topkapi Palace. Please check Topkapi Palace timings.
Please click here to see the timetable for all guided tours.

Istanbul E-pass Guide Meeting Point

  • Meet the guide in front of the Fountain of Ahmed III across the Main gate of Topkapi Palace
  • Our guide will hold the Istanbul E-pass flag at the meeting point and time.

Important Notes:

  • It's part of the Topkapi Palace Museum.
  • Topkapi Palace can be entered with our guide only.
  • Hagia Irene Museum visit takes around 15 minutes.
  • Photo ID will be asked from child Istanbul E-pass holders.
Know before you go

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