Place of The Day: Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya Museum), Istanbul, TurkeySeptember 6, 2011 No Comments
IstanbulDolmabahçe Palace, Istanbul, Turkey - Glamorous European-Style Palace of Ottoman Empire. Read more ... » city has so many places to go while visiting the area. One of the most popular is Hagia Sophia. Hagia Sophia, literally means Holy Wisdom, was once the greatest church in Christian world, built by The Byzantine Emperor Justinian I from the year of 532 until 537. As you can see the year it was built, Hagia Sophia is one of the oldest church in the world. Visiting Hagia Sophia is surely a unique experience as the events from period of time have made it looking like now.
HAGIA SOPHIA HISTORY
The beginning of the story starts when Justinian I, the Byzantine Emperor, had ordered to build Hagia Sophia, the third church in the same area after the first and the second church were burnt down. Hagia Sophia was designed by Greek scientists Isidore of Miletus, a physicist, and a mathematician Anthemius of Tralles. This patriarchal basilica remained as the largest and grandest cathedralIn Photos: Duomo Di Milano - The Largest Cathedral in Italy. Read more ... » in the world for nearly a thousand years. During the years, the church had been repaired after numerous earthquakes. In 1204, Hagia Sophia was ransacked by the Crusaders. Many of the holy relics were robbed, shipped to Venice, and replaced its Patriarch with a Latin Bishop.
In 1453, Constantinople (back then, Istanbul was known as Constantinople) was conquered by Ottoman armies and since then Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque by Sultan Mehmet II and he named it Aya Sofya Mosque. The conversion from church to mosque had made the interior changed. The bells, altar, sacrificial vessels, and iconostasis were removed and many of the mosaics were plastered over and replaced with geometric designs, gold, wood, and mother of pearl as in Islam it is prohibited to represent figures. Marbles and porphyry were covering the interior walls, while granites are the material for its columns. Later than that, two minarets were added, as well as a prayer niche, ablutions area, pulpit, tombs, and an elementary school. Two gigantic medallions then hung on the columns, inscribing Islamic calligraphy and are still visible today. Hagia Sophia had been changed into mosque until 1935 when Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the first President of Republic of TurkeyDolmabahçe Palace, Istanbul, Turkey - Glamorous European-Style Palace of Ottoman Empire. Read more ... », transformed the building into a museum until now.
HAGIA SOPHIA TODAY
There are extensive restorations towards Hagia Sophia. The project itself is led by Thomas Whitmore, from the Byzantine Institute of America, aimed to put a balance between the two religion styles in the building. The efforts can be seen from Islamic art which replaced the original Christian mosaics had to be destroyed in order to bring back the Christian style. Until now, the museum’s restoration is ongoing.
Hagia Sophia Interior
Empress Zoe Mosaic — one of mosaics in Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia at night
HOW TO GET TO HAGIA SOPHIA?
Visiting Hagia Sophia is a must when you come to Istanbul. The dome and remaining mosaics are the most-photographed by visitors. Hagia Sophia opening hours are from Tuesday until Sunday, from 9.00-16.30 (closed on Monday). To enter the building, you have to pay for 20TL and remember not to bring a tripod as it is prohibited. Hagia Sophia is located in Sultanahmet area. To go there, you can take funicular F-1 from Taksim to Kabatas, and then T-1 from Kabatas to Sultanahmet Tram Station. It is also good to come at nights, just to see Hagia Sophia with lights. There are many important places nearby Hagia Sophia you can visit; Blue Mosque (which architecture was inspired by Hagia Sophia), Basilica Cistern, Topkapi Palace, Gulhane Park, Hippodome and Monuments, Turkish Islamic Arts Museum, and Istanbul Archaeological Museum.
FEATURED HOTELS NEAR HAGIA SOPHIA
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