Chora Mosque (Kariye Camii)
Dervişali Mahallesi, Kariye Cami Sk. No:8 Fatih
Daily, except prayer times.
Muslims pray five times each day. The precise timing of prayers often vary by a few minutes each day, therefore throughout a year there is a wide range of prayer times. The reason is that Islamic prayer times were traditionally set according to the movement of the sun.
Actually Islamic prayers are fixed at the same "time" period each day -- before dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset, and evening. Because of the rotation of the earth, the latitudes of the earth’s locations, daylight savings time, etc. -- the "times" (according to the clock) for these prayers change depending on time of day and location.
The Chora Mosque (Kariye Camii) is in the Chora Church, which in old Greek means “countryside”, a reference of the church’s location outside the old city walls. With a history dating back to the 4th century, it was built by Emperor Justinian, however today’s church is not the same as the first structure built outside the city walls.
The building standing today was built in the 11th century and was used for important religious celebrations. In the course of its history, it was restored many times. A number of chapels were added over time and its interior walls were decorated with mosaics and frescoes.
After the conquest of Istanbul the church was converted into a mosque. The Mosque is definitely worth a visit posessing some of the most magnificent Byzantine mosaics and frescoes in the city. The mosque, with all of its history, is still open to worshipers today. Chora Mosque is open for visitors every day except prayer times.
Mosque is a place of worship for Muslims. It comes from the Arabic word 'masjid' which literally means "a place for prostration". Mosques are also places where Muslims come together for different purposes such as education, social gatherings, public meetings, exhibitions, lectures etc. Although there is no specific requirement for mosques in terms of their architecture, one can see some common features inside and outside of many mosques such as minarets, domes, ablution areas, prayer niche (mihrab), pulpit (minbar) and so on.
Muslims are obliged to perform the ritual worship 5 times a day. They are not required to attend a mosque for each of these prayers however in order to interact with the community they are encouraged to pray in congregation. Friday noon is the only time in a week when Muslims must definitely join the congregational prayer in a mosque after which they can continue their work, education or other commitments.
Azan or the call for prayer is a vocal announcement that one can hear from minarets 5 times a day. The call to prayer is made live -even early in the morning- by a person called 'muazzin'. The muazzins are usually chosen from people with loud and beautiful voices and trained over years to make this announcement beautifully and invite people to worship.
Taksim: Use the 87 Edirnekapı – Taksim shuttle bus line to get off at the Edirnekapı stop and walk about 10 minutes.
Atatürk Airport: Take the Aksaray – Havaalanı metro line to get off at the Aksaray stop. Then catch the transfer line to T1 Zeytinburnu – Kabataş tramline to reach the Eminönü stop. Take one of these shuttle bus lines: 31 E Yenibosna – Eminönü, 37 E Küçükköy – Eminönü, 38 E Yıldıztabya – Eminönü, 36 KE Karadeniz Mahallesi – Eminönü. Get off at the Edirnekapı stop from where it is only 10 minutes by foot.
Blue Mosque Area: Take the T1 Zeytinburnu – Kabataş tramline and get off at the Eminönü stop. Take one of these shuttle bus lines: 31 E Yenibosna – Eminönü, 37 E Küçükköy – Eminönü, 38 E Yıldıztabya – Eminönü, 36 KE Karadeniz Mahallesi – Eminönü. Get off at the Edirnekapı stop from where it is only 10 minutes by foot.