Istanbul: Chora Church and Mosaics
Though it doesn’t seem to get nearly the acclaim of the Sultanahmet hotspots like the Hagia Sophia or Blue Mosque, the Byzantine-era Chora Church and surrounding area make for an excellent day in Istanbul. The church nearly backs up to the old City Walls, while the odd little Istanbul Pigeon Market is only a few minutes’ walk away. Afterwards, winding lanes lead down to waterfront parks full of families picnicking on nice days.
The church (turned mosque turned secular museum) itself is full of mosaics, originally created in the early 1300′s.
While not nearly as large an intimidating as some of the other religious monuments in Istanbul, Chora’s art-filled interior seemed to leave most of the guests craning towards the ceiling to take in all the detailed work.
If you’re comfortable navigating the public transit system, take the T1 to Topkapi and switch to the T4 for Edirnekapi. Chora Church should be about ten minutes’ walk away. If that sounds like too much for you, check out a guided tour.