Reading the text below will help you better understand the cultural context of the images in this video.
This church located in the outer courtyard of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, was the first cathedral of Constantinople. Its construction dates from the 4th century, and according to tradition, a church already existed on this site when the Roman Emperor Constantine I had it transformed into a cathedral.
The church is not dedicated to a saint who would have borne the name of Irene, but her name means in Greek "Peace of God".
Saint Irene predates Hagia Sofia, which was to succeed it from the end of the 4th century in its role as a cathedral.
Ste Irene and Ste Sophie constituted from the 5th century the seat of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The two churches were neighbors and led by the same clergy. St Irene was also the seat of the first ecumenical council which took place there in 381. This council will be the second in the history of Christianity.
A revolt broke out in Constantinople in 532 against the Emperor Justinian. During this revolt, known as the "Nika sedition", the church was burned down. The emperor had it rebuilt as a domed basilica.
Another destruction struck Saint Irene in 740, but this time it was the result of an earthquake. Once again it was rebuilt and Constantine V had its interior decorated with mosaics and frescoes, some of which are still visible today.
A major historical moment in the city of Constantinople was the capture of the city by the Muslim Turks of Mehmet II in 1453. Most of the churches were looted and burned and some were converted into mosques at this time.
This was not the case of Saint Irene which was used as an arsenal until the beginning of the 19th century. This is probably why it was integrated into the Topkapi Palace, the construction of which began under Mehmet II in 1459.
After having served for more than three centuries as an arsenal, it was transformed in 1846 into the Museum of Military Antiquities.
The ownership of Hagia Sophia was transferred to the Ministry of Culture of Turkey in 1978 and has since been used mainly as a concert hall for classical music. Its remarkable acoustic qualities and the atmosphere it gives off make it an excellent choice for a concert hall.
about the place, Istanbul:
Istanbul is the economic capital of Turkey. It is at the same time the largest city in the country. The city was founded in the 7th century BC under the name Byzantium.
In 330 CE, Emperor Constantine the Great designated it as the new capital of the Roman Empire and initially called it New Rome. Later it became Constantinople. For 16 centuries it was the capital of several empires, Byzantine, Roman and Ottoman.
Constantinople was a Christian city for a long time, even hosting 4 of the first 7 councils. With the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the city became Muslim before becoming the seat of the Ottoman Caliphate in the early 16th century.
At the time of the formation of the Republic of Turkey, the capital was transferred to Ankara and the city was renamed in 1930 to become Istanbul.
What's the weather like in Istanbul?
Spoken comments in the film:
Hagia Irene Church in Istanbul was the first cathedral in Constantinople, before the construction of Hagia Sophia in the 4th century AD. Since the capture of Constantinople by the troops of Mehmet II in 1453, this building no longer accommodates worship. For 3 centuries it served as an arsenal and in 1976 it was transformed into a musical performance hall, mainly for classical music.
- YouTube video library - Cortosis - Scoring Action, (© Cortosis - Scoring Action by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
- YouTube video library - Exciting Trailer, (© Exciting Trailer by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
• Disclaimer: As traditional music is often subject to copyright (claimed by major music distribution groups), the musical illustration of this film "Istanbul • Hagia Irene (EN)" does not use typical music of Turkey but is borrowed from a collection of royalty-free music. Despite the painstaking care given to the musical choices in this film, some people may regret this choice, but it is the price to pay for not incurring unnecessary lawsuits. This decision was difficult to take, but it's the only viable solution, unfortunately. •