The Hagia Sophia
If you have never had the opportunity to visit the Hagia Sofia, I certainly recommend you doing so. Turkey’s Hagia Sofia, is a true marvel of the times, and a jewel of the ancients. I would describe it as Turkey’s Taj Mahal, but you wouldn’t guess by looking at it from the outside. That’s right. If you judged the Hagia Sofia by its cover, then you would likely skip the lines and move on to other structures such as the Blue Mosque, which stands only a short distance from Hagia Sofia in a strangely reflective way.
The Hagia Sofia was built during that Byzantine Empire. When first built, the structure housed the largest dome in the known world. It was built as a church, and it was not until recently that this was unveiled again.
During the Ottoman conquests, the Hagia Sofia was transformed from its Christian manner to an Islamic Mosque. The original walls of the Hagia Sofia were richly enlaced with golden murals of biblical stories and Christian idols to Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. Once the Ottoman’s took over modern-day Turkey, the murals were covered and the Church quickly became a mosque complete with quotes from the Quran on the walls. It was only recently that archaeologists and historians began to uncover the original paintings.
Today, the Hagia Sofia, is a treasured museum and tribute to both religions. It is a relic of the times, and is magnificently decorated with a unique blend of Islamic and Christian art. Out of the museums and churches that I have been to, I’d say that it was definitely on the top of my list. A Few Hagia Sofia Facts (From source):
- The Dome in Hagia Sophia (Sofia) is the second largest in the world. The first is the Patheon in Rome.
- Many of the “Church” features such as bells, relics, and artifacts were removed when it was converted into a mosque.
- The building became a museum, when the first Turkish president was elected.
- The Blue Mosque, which stands a short distance away, was designed in favor of the Hagia Sophia.
- A physicist, mathematician, and scientist first designed the building.
- Hagia Sophia played an important role in Eastern Orthodox religion for nearly 1000 years. It served as a church from 537 until 1453.
- Sofia (Sophia) means wisdom in ancient Greek.
- The full translation of Hagia Sophia is Shrine of the Holy God.
- Hagia Sophia is known for its mystical reflecting sunlight through the windows.
- You should visit the Hagia Sophia immediately because it is built on a fault line in an earthquake zone. It could be destroyed.