Hagia Sophia -The Natural Heritage Of Turkey
The Church of Hagia Sophia, divine wisdom or Hagia Sophia, dedicated to the third person of the Trinity, is one of the most sublime works of Byzantine art. It was built in the 532 to 537, during the reign of Justinian I in Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire (now Istanbul, Turkey).
Its architects, Greeks Anthemius of Tralles and Isidoro de Mileto, covered building, almost square plan, with a central dome on pendentives. This rests on four arches, supported in turn by four columns. Two half-domes made of buttress of the central dome and the open walls are secured by buttresses. It has also a beautiful Byzantine mosaics. The final construction was conducted on the primitive basilica of Constantine among the 532 and 537, during the reign of Justinian, in the period known as the "First golden age". Its architects were unprecedented designed, taking known elements (basilica and roundabout), but they joined in a new structure.
It was used as a Christian Church for nearly a thousand years, from its construction until the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453. They're terrified residents took refuge in the attack on the city. The Ottomans became a mosque, later adding four minarets which presented today, as well as the Interior decorative medallions. In 1935 it was converted into a museum. In the words of Agathias, designers (Tralles Artemio was a mathematician, Isidoro de Mileto architect) tried to 'applied geometry to solid matter'. Justiniano, according to its official Procopio de Cesarea chronicler, sees Hagia Sophia finished exclaimed: ' Solomon, you have overcome».
Its architecture is spacious, although the outside effect has been significantly modified by the Ottomans, who enriched it with minarets, Rams and large buttresses. The idea of the building was that the great dome that would build would hold thanks to four reinforced arches, buttresses and half-domes that diverted the thrusts. .The tympana of the five main arches reflected as the basilica took the body of San Marcos.
The plant is a rectangle of 77 x 71 meters. The dome shaped half, 56.6 meters of height and diameter 31, 87, drum is supported on four pendentives and is surrounded by forty small buttresses separated by so many windows, giving the feeling according to Procopius of being «suspended from the sky» by a gold chain. On the outside, the mass of the great Church rises not without some harmony, but not too much grace. The dome imposed a centralization that is quite alien to the basilicas of the past, but thanks to the pendents and translates the efforts to the aisles, as well as a refined use of light, "do not seem to rest on a sound footing". It is opposite the Blue Mosque.
First, it was a church, then a cathedral Byzantine and later a mosque. Today, this building is a monument and a national treasure. Hagia Sophia, the most famous landmark of Istanbul, is one of the most beautiful architectural wonders, as well as one of the world's largest churches. The building you see today represents various cultures. Known in Turkish as "Aya Sofya" (Holy wisdom), Hagia Sophia has been of great religious importance in the region. The Church was first commissioned by the Romans and was opened in the year 360 A.D., before becoming the principal Christian prayer place of Constantinople. After the building was destroyed twice, eventually a new basilica was built in the 6th century, and Santa Sofia became the centre of Eastern Orthodox Christianity.
When the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople in 1453, Hagia Sophia was transformed into a mosque. Christian characteristics were covered or removed and added new Islamic features. Shortly after was proclaimed the Republic of Turkey, Constantinople became Istanbul and the mosque was closed. Currently, this national monument serves as a Museum and is open to the public.
With its spectacular four minarets and its huge central dome, Santa Sofia dominates the silhouette of Istanbul. It enters the Church by the Western portal. Since the outer narthex, five portals open to the narthex, or interior lobby. Admire the 9th century mosaics and frescoes of the Christian faith of the century X. Note that the dome is decorated with Islamic inscriptions of verses from the Koran. The eastern corner of the gardens, houses the mausoleums of several sultans.
Since Santa Sofia is the main cultural treasure of Istanbul, there are often long lines to enter. However, the visitors rarely have to wait more than half an hour. You can buy snacks at one of the several cafes which you will find in the square.
Hagia Sophia is in the old town and you can get here by public transport. Apply for Turkish visa quickly in order to enjoy this beautiful natural heritage of Turkey. The building is open daily, except Mondays. The visiting hours are broader in the summer. Buy your ticket at the Museum box office. Consider renting an audio guide to better understand the cultural and educational value of Hagia Sophia.