St. Irene, which
is located on 1st courtyard of Topkapı Palace, was constructed by the Emperor
Lustiniaus in VI. century. It consists of atrium, narthex, naos with three nephs
and apse. It is a typical Byzantine structure with its material and architecture.
There have not
been many changes in the building, as the church was not turned to a mosque
after conquest of İstanbul
in 1453. It was used as a booty and weapon warehouse for a long time. Son-in-law
Ahmed Fethi Pasha, one of Field Marshal of Tophane, exhibited his works here
in 1846. St. Irene was renamed as Müze-i Hümayun (Empire Museum) in 1869. The
works exhibited here was moved to Çinili Köşk (Pavilion with painted tiles)
in 1875, as the exhibition areas were insufficient. St. Irene was used as a
Military Museum since 1908. The building, which was empty for a while, was restored
and made a unit of Directorate of St. Sofia Museum.