Posted by Vi Warkentin on
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul - WOW! The visit to this gorgeous basilica turned mosque turned museum was a definite highlight for me. So much beauty to photograph. Glancing up and seeing visitors touring the upper galleries, I was looking forward to seeing the views from there myself.Views along the north side beneath the upper north gallery on the way to the entrance of the dark cobble-stone ramp leading to the upper galleries. Gorgeous paintings and mosaics.
This half-lit cobble stone winding ramp located in the NW corner leads to the upper galleries. A combination of ramps and stairs are also located in the NE corner of the museum.Glancing up at this ceiling along the upper west gallery (directly above the Imperial Entrance). Loved the colours.
A quick glance down from the upper west gallery to the NE corner of the Hagia Sophia. You must see it in person to experience how truly massive it really is.In 1931, a team of archeologists, historians, craftsmen and restorers began a complete survey of the Hagia Sophia with the chipping away of plaster to reveal mosaics beneath beginning in 1934. (I really enjoyed reading this great detailed account of the discovery and restoration of the Deesis found here.)
The Deesis (a traditional representation of the Virgin Mary, Saint John and Christ) mosaic as seen from a distance probably dating back to the mid 1200’s. Considered one of the finest mosaic’s in the Hagia Sophia.
Beautiful and colourful mosaic tiles. Fantastic facial expressions shown here on John the Baptist.Paintings on the north wall below the massive dome.
Aged geometric mosaics decorate the upper imperial gallery walls and arches.
Another Hagia Sophia mosaic dating back to the 12th century - that of Emperor Johannes, Virgin and child, and Empress Irene. The bottom of the mosaic has been damaged.Part the 11th century mosaic showing Jesus Christ with Constantine IX on his right and Empress Zoe on Christ’s left.
Did I mention the mosaics are so gorgeous in colour? Check out the spectacular blue tiles in this mosaic. Also, very detailed and expressive mosaic.On the underside of the dome above the mihrab is this detailed mosaic of Mary and the Christ Child. This is the oldest mosaic in the Hagia Sophia dating back to the 9th century.Looking back towards the Imperial Entrance to the Hagia Sophia. Overall, the Hagia Sophi is a gorgeous structure in my estimation!