Posted by Vi Warkentin on
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. There 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.
A closer look at the Virgin & Child.A closer look at one of the cherubims painted above one of the pillars supporting the dome with its face revealed.
More views of the gorgeous interior.
A closer look at the beautiful painted designs on some of the smaller semi-domes.The 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.Some of the large green medallions in the interior and a glance at the upper levels.
The 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).
The 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.
Glancing up to the second level - off to see that in the next post! Stay tuned!