Chora Museum Constantinople

Outer Narthex Mosaics of Chora

Outer Narthex Mosaics of Chora Church-Museum_01

Chora Museum consists of 5 main parts the annexes, the parakklesion, the inner & outer narthexes and the naos inner & outer narthexes house most of the mosaic works that tell the life story of Mary the miracles of Christ the parakklesion is decorated with astonishing frescos with the scenes from the Judgment Day & Resurrection. The outer narthex  shows nativity, the miracles of Christ, the massacre of the innocent.



This mosaic depicts Mary with baby Christ in her womb. Her two hand are outstretched and there are two angels whose hands are veiled to touch sacred one. Around Mary, ‘’Mother of God’’ and ‘’Chora of the unlimited’’. We can say that this name of the museum is named after this Chora Mosaic because Chora means the womb where Christ was born. This type of depiction is named as ‘’blacherniotissa’’.



Signing benediction with his right hand and holding the Holy Book with the left one, Christ is portrayed in a realistic way in the mosaic. His right ear is lower than the left one. His head is surrounded by a nimbus with a cross inside. The inscription around him reads ‘’Jesus Christ’’ and ‘’the Chora of the living’’ which is taken from Psalm 116 (The land of living, the eternal reward for faithful in heaven)

Moreover, this mosaic is made with a special technique; his look catches you wherever you look at him.



In this mosaic lunette, we see Joseph thoughtfully in a dream. He is not aware of Mary’s pregnancy. In his dream, an angel announces the good news that Mary will bear a boy named Jesus who comes from the Holy Ghost so not to leave her.

Above him, Mary and Elizabeth is talking. After Joseph has waken up, he takes his family to Bethlehem where Christ will be born. Mary is depicted on a mule pulled by the son of Joseph and followed by Joseph.

4– The birth of Christ (Nativity)

In this scene, we see Mary, in the center lying on a blanket with Christ on her left with a light from heavens on him. There are two animals looking at him, because they are in a stable. Behind Mary, angels are praying and on the right, Gabriel announces the birth of Christ to the shepherds.

On the left below the panel, two women is bathing the baby Christ. And near them, Joseph is sitting broodingly with a halo around his head.

5- The three Magi 

The three Magi (aka three Wise men) are traditional accounts of the nativity celebrations. We see them coming from the East on horses following a star and arriving in Bethlehem. They ask the king Herod where the newborn King of Jews. One of them has a box full of gifts in his hands to present the new King. The King askes them to let him know if they find him so that he could worship him, too.

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About the author


Hagia Sophia Research Team (HSRT) consists of a group of people who likes to research Byzantine Heritage in Turkey by visiting and taking photos of the historical places.

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