Posted by Vi Warkentin on
The Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey - the moment I knew I would be traveling to Turkey, I was looking forward to visiting the Hagia Sophia and, I will say, I was not disappointed.
The Hagia Sophia was first a basilica, then a mosque and now a museum. The Hagia Sophia was built as a church between 532 and 537 AD, the third Church built on this location with the first two both being destroyed in riots. The first church was built in 360 AD by Emperor Constantius and destroyed in 404 AD by rioters setting fire to it. In 415 AD Emperor Theodosius ll rebuilt the church. Then in 532 AD, the Church was once again destroyed by fire during a rebellion that saw many more structures destroyed at that same time.
The third Hagia Sophia’s construction was ordered by Emperor Justinian and was built in under six years with completion in 537 AD. Over the years, earthquakes and fires have caused significant damage to the Hagia Sophia requiring repairs and reinforcement. Buttresses have also been added to help reinforce this magnificent structure.
The Church was converted into a mosque in 1453 when the Turks conquered Constantinople. Prior to this time, the Church had fallen into great disrepair. The Turks repaired the frescoes and mosaics only to have them covered over in plaster in the 16th century.
In 1935, under the order of Ataturk, the first President of the Republic of Turkey, the mosque was turned into a museum and what a spectacular museum it is!
I think I mentioned in earlier posts, just how many tourists there were in Turkey when I visited. And no difference here - endless line-ups greeted us once again! Our guide had purchased tickets in advance so we were able to by-pass the long lines of other visitors.The gorgeous colours of the Hagia Sophia.Over time minarets were added during the 1400 and 1500’s with the red-brick minaret being the first to be erected. The three domes in the foreground are mausoleums of Sultans of the Ottoman Empire.A closer look at Hagia Sophia - stunning on the outside and even more incredible on the interior (watch for upcoming posts).
Looking up at the main west (northwest) entrance of Hagia Sophia. I’m looking forward with anticipation to entering this spectacular museum.