Hagia Irene

The church was not converted into a mosque after the conquest of Istanbul. Few changes were made to the interior and exterior and it was used as the Cebehane (weapons depot). Two restored marble inscription tablets adorn the entry portico that was added by Sultan Ahmet III. One of these was restored in 1726 by Darü’l-Esliha and the weapons within arranged, so that the church had clearly been turned into a weapons museum. The other inscription, dated 1744 during the reign of Sultan Mahmud I, indicates it was turned into the weapons depot again after its restoration. In the 19th Century, the weapons depot was named the “Harbiye Ambarı” (war academy depot). In 1846, on the initiative of Tophane Müşiri (Artillery Commander in Chief) Fethi Ahmed Pasha, the contents were organized into two sections and the building officially named the Museum of Early Munitions and Artifacts. Later it was used again as a depot. In the years 1908-40 it served as the Military Museum.