The Massive Domed Church of Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
Jul 24, 2019
The epitome of Byzantine Empire, Hagia Sophia meaning ‘holy wisdom’ is an architectural marvel of epic proportions. Built in 537 AD under the reign of emperor Justinian I, this monument attracts tourists to the breathtaking city of Istanbul.
In its 1400 years of glory, Hagia Sophia has served as a cathedral, a mosque and now a museum.
The herculean task of building this colossal structure took only 6 years. But, the dome collapsed after 2 decades and was rebuilt. It has lasted ever since with minimum repairs.
A massive central dome rests above the 2-floored Hagia Sophia. The dome is 102 feet in diameter and is embellished with a golden crown.
The dome has a mystical feel due to the 40 windows beneath it. When sunlight passes through the windows, the dome appears to float in the air.
In 1453, it was converted into a mosque by the Ottoman Empire. They embellished the structure with huge massif patterned minarets laced with ornaments.
The plain exterior of Hagia Sophia symbolizes life. During the restorations in the 19th century, it was tinted yellow and red.
The interior is covered by green and white marble with purple porphyry and gold mosaics. It symbolizes spiritual universe.
In 1935, Turkey’s President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk transformed and restored Hagia Sophia into a secular museum. Millions visit the museum every year and admire the architectural masterpiece.
The museum proudly houses a shining 13th-century Deesis Mosaic of Christ with John the Baptist and the Virgin Mary.