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.
It was built as a Christian church in the 6th century under the direction of the Byzantine emperor Justinian l.
In subsequent centuries, it became a mosque, a museum and a mosque again. Today, the historic building reflects the centuries-old religious changes...
...with beautiful minarets and inscriptions of Islam, as well as the wonderfully intricate mosaics of Christianity.
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.
After the Turkish conquest of Constantinople in 1453, Mehmed ll had it reported as a mosque, with the addition of gold chandeliers & wooden minarets.
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.
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’!
The structure now standing is essentially the 6th century edifice, although an earthquake caused partial damage and collapse of the dome in 558.
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.
The Hagia Sophia was looted in 1204 by then Venetians, as well as the Crusaders on the Fourth Crusade.
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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