Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sofia, Istanbul, Turkey
Hagia Sophia is one of the most important symbols of Istanbul and one of the most special masterpieces in the universal architecture.
Above all, visitors of Istanbul …More
Hagia Sophia is one of the most important symbols of Istanbul and one of the most special masterpieces in the universal architecture.
Above all, visitors of Istanbul city come here from far away to visit Hagia Sophia. Hagia Sophia is at the same time, one of the prominent symbols of the city and one of the most important structures of world architecture. Its character as a symbol of good taste led to ostentatious, makes Hagia Sophia an imperial masterpiece. At the time it was built, it had no equal; no similar building was like it. With this in mind, it is clear that the greatness of the building was meant to inspire, primarily awe.
Hagia Sophia was built by the Roman Emperor Justinian I. Even if it is a Byzantine structure, Hagia Sophia is, however, a typical example of traditional roman architecture. When it was built, Hagia Sophia was like no other structure that had ever been built and the architectural dimensions were not outweighed by another building for a millennium.
While Hagia Sophia overwhelms her visitors with its greatness from the era in which it was built, the original purpose of the structure was to induce the sensation that something like this can be done only with divine help. Therefore, Hagia Sophia is at the same time, a symbol of medieval mysticism. Even if the initial name was indeed Hagia Sofia, its origin was often confused with Saint Sophia. In fact, the name Sophia, which also applies in the case of Ayasofya, is not the name of a Saint,but the name of the second member of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Wisdom (or Spirit). This is why the church is now known as Hagia Sophia. During the first period of its existence it was known by the Byzantines, under the name "the Giant Church" (Megale Ekklesia). It becomes known as the Ayasofya after the conquest of Istanbul in 1453.
Hagia Sophia suffered significant damage in several rows, since it was built. The most serious of these occurred during the Fourth Crusade. On May 29, 1453, when Constantinople fell, Fatih Sultan Mehmet went straight to the Hagia Sophia and commanded its transformation into a mosque.
Hagia Sophia is a magnificent imperial artifact. The "Imperial Gate" is in the center of the entrance towards the museum inside the court. A mosaic panel which was completed in the Ninth Century is just above this door. Portraits of the Virgin Mary and Archangel Gabriel are found on each side of this mosaic. The most impressive characteristic of the Hagia Sophia is, undoubtedly, the fantastic dome, which seems to hover in the air over the entire building. The dome' s walls and ceiling are covered with multi-colored marble and mosaic. The 107 columns that we find both on the first floor and at the mezzanine, are examples of the decorative arts of the Byzantine Empire in the sixth century.
The wide columns that were specific to that era blend nicely with the shadows and the light inside. In the middle of these columns is found the imperial monogram. Hagia Sophia continued to exist as a mosque in the Ottoman period and was the focus of all the sultans, who contributed in their turn with unique exhibits of Ottoman culture. This way, the building remains even today a masterpiece, depicting the influence of both cultures and religions. The tombs found in Hagia Sophia, with their interior decorations of sandstone, are examples of traditional Ottoman design graves.
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