The significance of this icon - which western art sees as 'the harrowing of hell' (the Lord drawing out Adam and Eve while Satan lies bound beneath) but which the eastern church sees as the primary representation of the resurrection - has been explored in this Blog before, and some of its development in western art in Florence has been explored more recently. So discovering this fourteenth century mosaic icon of it (roughly contemporary with the Florence art) at the church which is now called Chora Museum was worth coming to Istanbul for.
We were almost equally struck by this unusual representation of the entry of the saved into heaven close by. On the left (in darkness) they come along, led by Peter who is putting his key into the door. The door is guarded by a six winged seraph, just as the gate to the Garden of Eden was guarded by an angel. On the right (in the light), the good thief (carrying his cross) has got there first and gestures them foward towards Mary - it looks as if she is enthroned between two angels almost as the Queen of the garden-like Heaven which they have reached.