Hagia Sophia - interior main floor

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul - there is so much to see here. The sheer size is stunning! It remained the world’s largest cathedral for a span of one thousand years until the early 1500’s when Spain’s Seville Cathedral was built.

When Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1453, the church was converted into a mosque and many of the church relics were removed and many of the mosaics (future posts to come) were covered up with plaster. Hagia Sophia_IMG_4886.jpgThere are numerous paintings adorning the interior - above the mihrab is a painting of the Virgin Mary and Child and on four sides of the massive dome are paintings of four cherubims - three of the four which had their faces gold-leafed over in the mid 19th century.  In 1997, the Hagia Sophia had additional restorations done and one of the cherubim’s face was revealed beneath the gold-leaf design. Hagia Sophia_IMG_4912.jpg

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Hagia Sophia_IMG_4885.jpgA closer look at the Virgin & Child.Hagia Sophia_IMGC03217.jpgA closer look at one of the cherubims painted above one of the pillars supporting the dome with its face revealed.Hagia Sophia_IMG_4901.jpg

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More views of the gorgeous interior.Hagia Sophia_IMG_4887.jpg

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Hagia Sophia_IMG_4893.jpgA closer look at the beautiful painted designs on some of the smaller semi-domes.Hagia Sophia_IMG_4894.jpgThe large green medallions were added in the mid 1800’s when a major restoration was done to the Hagia Sophia. These medallions are inscribed with the names of Allah (shown on the right), the Prophet Muhammed (medallion on the left), and other names on medallions placed around the interior. 

Just above the heads of the crowd, in the eastern apse is the mosque’s mihrab (the niche in every mosque indicating the direction of Mecca)  - this one located about 10 degrees south of Hagia Sophia’s east side and minbar (the raised platform from which the imam addressed those gathered) to the right of it.Hagia Sophia_IMG_4900.jpgSome of the large green medallions in the interior and a glance at the upper levels.Hagia Sophia_IMG_4895.jpg

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Hagia Sophia_IMG_4898.jpgThe beautiful pillars and tile work on the main level and upper levels as well as a look at the paintings of the angels (one with their face painted over and the other with face shown).Hagia Sophia_IMG_4905.jpg

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Hagia Sophia_C03223.jpgThe Loge of the Sultan - the raised platform to the left of the east apse - moved to its current location in the mid 1800’s when a major renovation took place - this loge was used by the Sultan whereby they could take part in the rituals but not be seen by the public and also to keep the Sultan protected from would-be assasins. Hagia Sophia_C03217.jpg

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Hagia Sophia_C03222.jpgGlancing up to the second level - off to see that in the next post! Stay tuned!Hagia SophiaIMG4905.jpg

Friendly Planet - Best of Turkey tour

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Welcome to my travel photo blog. Photography has been a part of my life for a long time – back in the day the Pentax Super Program was always near at hand. But it wasn’t until I started travelling around the world that photography became a vehicle for me to show others about the absolutely amazing and complex world we live in. My hope is to share with you glimpses of what I’ve seen. Enjoy!