Found project: Hagia Eirene

    Project : Hagia Eirene

    Language variant : Aya İrini

    Architect : Constantine I

    Completion: 4th c. (original building)

    Locality : Istanbul

    Country : Turkey

    Building style : Byzantine

    Project on the map (green arrow)

    Description :

    “On the way back I passed through the Gulhane Gardens surrounding the Topkapi Palace. As I passed I was surprised to see that the basilica of Haghia Eirene appeared to be open. This was unexpected because, for some reason best known to the Turkish authorities, this magnificent building, one of the very greatest Byzantine churches surviving in the city, is normally kept resolutely locked. This time, however, the door was opened and a couple of sophisticated-looking Turkish women were sitting chatting in the porch.
    I thought I would take the opportunity to have a look at the church, but as I wandered past the women one of them called out: ‘I’m sorry, you can’t go in there. It’s closed’
    ‘It looks open.’
    ‘I’m afraid you need a special pass to go in. For security reasons.’
    ‘What do you mean?’
    ‘There are VIPs inside.’
    ‘No. Models.’
    ‘Today they are having a beauty contest.’
    ‘In a church?’
    ‘Why not? All Turkey’s top models are there. They are currently changing into Rifat Ozbek bikinis.’”

    William Dalrymple, From the Holy Mountain: A Journey Among the Christians of the Middle East, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1998, p. 43.

    Ed. Adzhoa Makkonen

    Images 1-2 of 2
    Hagia Eirene
    Hagia Eirene
    Image © Heikki Hanka

    Hagia Eirene
    Hagia Eirene
    Image © Heikki Hanka