Maria Palaiologina, Istanbul’s first symbol of globalisation

Istanbul’s Kariye Museum, the former Church of St Saviour in Chora, is after the Hagia Sophia, the greatest surviving example of Byzantine heritage in the city once known as Constantinople that was taken over by the Ottomans in 1453. Amid the glittering portrayals of Christ and the saints that have made this building revered around the world, one face that for me has always stood out. The face of a pious, devoted and beautiful woman, hands clasped out in devotion and wearing some kind of wimple.