ARCHITECT, Byzantine
(active 540s in Constantinople)

Exterior view

Hagia Eirene, Istanbul

The Hagia Eirene ("Holy Peace")is a Greek Eastern Orthodox church in Istanbul, one of the few churches in Istanbul that has not been converted into a mosque. Today it operates as a museum and concert hall.

The building stands on the site of a 4th-century pre-Christian temple which was burned down during the Nika revolt in 532. Emperor Justinian I had the church rebuilt in 548. It was damaged again by an earthquake in 740 and Emperor Constantine V ordered the restorations. This restoration established a cross-domed plan on the gallery level while still being able to keep the original basilica plan at the ground level. The narthex can be found to the west, preceded by the atrium, and then the apse on the east side. The church still holds its dome and has peaked roofs on the north, west, and south sides of the church. The dome has twenty windows.

Hagia Eirene has the typical form of a Roman basilica, consisting of a nave and two aisles, which are divided by three pairs of piers. This helps support the galleries above the narthex. Semicircular arches are also attached to the capitals which also helps give support to the galleries above.

View the cross section and ground plan of the building.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.