Posted by Vi Warkentin on
Hagia Sophia - as we make our way down the stairs from the upper galleries and make our way to the exit in the southwestern corner (aka the Vestibule of the Warriors), we meet up with a group of visitors looking back towards us. But they aren’t looking at us. They are gazing upwards. We stop and turn to see another beautiful mosaic over the doorway which is thought to date back to the 10th century. It is one of the oldest mosaics in the Hagia Sophia and one of the first to be restored in the 1930’s.
Virgin Mary sits on a bejeweled throne with the Christ Child sitting on her lap. On Mary’s right is Justinian l and on her left is Constantine the Great. Dressed in ceremonial dress, the Emperor Justinian presents a model of Hagia Sophia and Emperor Constantine presents a model representation of the city - Constantinople. Large hooks above the doorway were possibly used for the suspension of heavy curtains.The monogrammed inscriptions accompanying the Virgin Mary has the meaning - Mother of God. The inscription by Justinian reads - Justinian Emperor of illustrious memory and the inscription by Constantine reads - Constantine, the great Emperor amongst the saints. This mosaic was made long after either of these emperors ruled.
And so we now say goodbye to the spectacular Hagia Sophia and are off to explore more of Istanbul and other regions of Turkey.