A Look Inside Istanbul’s Magnificent Hagia Sophia! 🇹🇷
Hagia Sophia - or Ayasofya in Turkish - is an important Byzantine structure in Istanbul, and one of the world’s greatest monuments.
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It was built as a Christian church in the 6th century under the direction of the Byzantine emperor Justinian l.
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In subsequent centuries, it became a mosque, a museum and a mosque again. Today, the historic building reflects the centuries-old religious changes...
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...with beautiful minarets and inscriptions of Islam, as well as the wonderfully intricate mosaics of Christianity.
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The Hagia Sophia was built in the remarkably short time of about six years, being completed in 537 CE. It combines a basilica & a centralised lobby.
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After the Turkish conquest of Constantinople in 1453, Mehmed ll had it reported as a mosque, with the addition of gold chandeliers & wooden minarets.
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It also included a mihrab (niche indicating the direction of Mecca), and a minbar (pulpit). He also erected the red minaret that stands at the corner.
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The walls above the galleries & the base of the dome are pierced by windows, which in daylight obscure the supports with the canopy ‘floating in air’!
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The structure now standing is essentially the 6th century edifice, although an earthquake caused partial damage and collapse of the dome in 558.
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It was restored in the mid-14th century, & for more than a millennium it was known as the Cathedral of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
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The Hagia Sophia was looted in 1204 by then Venetians, as well as the Crusaders on the Fourth Crusade.
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In 1934, Turkish President Kemal Atatürk secularised the building and in 1935, it turned into a museum. Today, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 🇹🇷
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