Hagia Sophia

Haghia Sophia, built on a hill in the centre of Old Byzantine, has a perfect appearance from the sea.

Emperor Justinianus demanded a new church to be built in a short time after the one before Haghia Sophia had collapsed in 532. After the construction had been planned and ready to begin, Justinuanus appointed the mathematician Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus, who was a static expert and an architect.

Haghia Sophia became the most powerful and respected church of Christianity over 1,000 years. It was considered to symbolize the composition of the imperial thought peculiar to Rome and the understanding of God in Christianity. When the construction of the church completed in a short time, in six years (532-537),

“Solomon, now I am superior to you” Justinuanus shouted against the appearance of the church.

The breathtaking fact is the brilliant unity in the interior classification of Haghia Sophia the visitors, as well as the splendid design with marble panels and mosaic ornaments; so that the church is called “The Eighth Wonder of the World.” It is almost impossible to have an idea about the size and proportions of the building when you pass through the “Emperor’s Gate” that gives a sight area up to the dome in terms of width and height. This extraordinary situation that the builders intended to realize stems from the structure of the place, the feeling that the dome is “as if hanging down the sky” and the light that is coming in directly or indirectly. Considering the conditions when it was built, there is no doubt that Haghia Sophia was the bravest construction that had ever been built since then.

I lie marbles are arranged in such a way that, the veins turn into ornaments some people interpret as “The Evil’s Face” or similar meanings.

The column vaults of the side areas are not the same with the ones in the gallery around it, saving the area from the pressure of all types of weight. Such as the pair of columns in each comer of the main area made of red porphyry; these columns made of greenish marble and were brought Ephesus and Baalbek city of Lebanon are ornamented with Byzantine capitals that are composed of a rich knitting decorations.

The dome is hung all those as the symbol of the sky. It is challenging the gravity since the windows were not built within a tambour inserted the dome. There are two semi domes adding to the dome. The distance from the floor up to the top of the dome is 55.60m. The width of the dome is 33m and sitting on four comers decorated with angel wings; these are meeting with four piers that size (8m x 20m) and do not attract attention among the vaults and the high walls of the side galleries. They just have a chunky outer look because of the thick endurance vaults added to the western side and eastern section against the earthquake risk.

When it was built, Haghia Sophia was decorated with pictures similar to the ones in St. Vitale Church in Ravenna, apart from the gold and mosaics. The panthocrator medal replaced the cross symbolizing peace at the far end 0 the church, in the 9^ century. Also are the mosaics of Virgin Mary on the abscissa and the side galleries; among them, the most attractive is the one showing Jesus Christ, the Virgin and St. John the Baptist in Deesis (the last judgment) from the Z2th or r3“ century. The Venetian Duke Enrico Dandolo, the commander of the r294 Crusade army that plundered everything he had come across with, was added across the mosaic. Fatih Sultan Mehmet thinks “how temporary the life is” when climbed up the dome and saw the ruined annexes the next day he conquered Istanbul. It must be a strange feeling for someone at the top of victory, though younger than 26! Haghia Sophia Mosque had seen five sultans. It had been the main mosque until I urned to be a museum in 1934.

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