The former church of Pammakaristos monastery is located on the northern slope of the city’s fifth hill, in the center of the settlement of “Phanar” (today’s Fener), once populated mainly by wealthy and powerful Istanbul Greeks.
The building was constructed in the 12th century at the request of Johannes Komnenos and his wife. In 1315, a side chapel, the Parekklesion, was added to the south side of the church, which is now used as a museum. The external walls of the church are made of fine stones and bricks.
After the conquest of Constantinople, it was the center of the Orthodox Patriarchate for nearly 140 years. After the triumph of Sultan Murad III (reigned 1574-1595), the church was converted into today’s Fethiye Mosque to commemorate the conquest of Georgia and Azerbaijan by the Ottomans. Hence the name “Fethiye”, which means “conquest”.
Outstanding mosaics from the 14th century are typical examples of the Byzantine Renaissance. Especially the dome mosaic with the Christ Pantocrator and a number of other mosaics of the Last Days as well as figures of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist are worth seeing in the “Church of the Most Happy Virgin”, which is dedicated to Virgin Mary.
The Fethiye Museum belongs to the administration of the Hagia Sophia Museum.
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