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St Irene Church
The Hagia Irene or St Irene Church is located in the outer Courtyard of the Topkapı Palace. St Irene was the first church built in Constantinople - presumably on the site of a pre-Christian temple. The church was built by orders of Emperor Constantin I. during the 4th century. Over the centuries it was heavily damaged by fire and earthquakes but restored every time and during the Ottoman rule it served as an armoury, warehouse and museum. Today it is used as a museum and, due to it's acoustic and atmosphere, as a concert hall for classical music. Closed on Tuesdays Nearest public transport : Tramway Sultanahmet
The museum consists of three buildings and is located between Gülhane Park and the Topkapi Palace. In the various halls of the Archaeology Museum, which also includes the Museum of the Ancient Orient, there are a variety of sarcophagi, tombstones, epitaphs, busts, sculptures, reliefs, column heads and mosaics from Greek, Roman and Byzantine antiquity on display. There is also the Çinili Kösk (Tiled Pavilion) which features 16th century ceramics and is one of the oldest buildings in Istanbul. The museum has a resource library and is open between 09h30 and 17h00 daily, except on Mondays.
Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum
Across the road from the Blue Mosque visitors will find the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art which is housed in the old Ibrahim Pasa Palace. The collection includes ceramics, metalwork, carpets and other treasures from Turkish History. There are reconstructions of the living conditions of country people in the 'Black Tent' exhibition. A cafeteria is available and drinks and snacks can be taken on a terrace that offers views over the Blue Mosque. The museum is open every day except Mondays from 9.30 to 17.00.