Ayasofia from Church to Mosque to Museum

The Ayasofya, a sublime architectural project also called Hagia Sophia is located in the of heart of Istanbul, Turkeydscf0710The magnificent main dome of The Ayasofyadscf8909dscf9089dscf9093The interior of the Ayasofya is a meeting of two religions: showing Islamic elements in a Christian setting.

dscf9094The Ayasofya, rich with golden tiles and marble pillarsdscf9097dscf9101Grand beauty of Ayasofya

dscf9109dscf9113dscf9115The interior view of the main dome: golden tiles creating a sequential mosaic

dscf9116Selfie!

dscf9125Interior undergoing restorationdscf9130Making my way to the second floor also known as the mezzanine level with the imperial gallerydscf9147View of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque from the Ayasofya window from the mezzanine level

dscf9154The arc behind me is a geometric pattern creating a mosaic

dscf9144The Deesis mosaic in the imperial gallery

dscf9161Outdoor golden fountain for ritual ablutions dscf9163Wearing: Zara pants, Forever 21 top, Tods shoes, Michael Kors bag

Hi,

The Ayasofya was first built as a Byzantine Holy Wisdom Church in the core of Istanbul, facing The Sultan Ahmed Mosque.  An incredible building and one of the most impressive. It is known as the greatest church to ever be built made to symbolize wealth & power. It was also the largest church up until the construction of St-Peters Basilica in Rome centuries years later.  Because of great architectural beauty and uniqueness, The Ayasofya  was declared a Mosque as soon as Islamic power took over Turkey. The Ayasofya became the inspirational example to other mosques to be built in Istanbul.

Once a mosque The Ayasofya remained the same but a prayer niche was added and some of the depicted faces were covered as Islam prohibits figurative imagery in mosques.

Later on, under the Ataturk regime, The Ayasofya was secularized and became a popular museum visited by millions yearly.  Tourists must purchase a ticket to enter and while its main purpose is now a museum, it still remains a sacred destination. The Ayasofya still holds a prayer area and Call of prayer is proclaimed daily from the minaret.

For me the most inspiring was the interior of the main dome adorned by millions of tiny tiles creating an incredibly detailed sequential golden mosaic.  The suspended medallions with Islamic calligraphy along side the Christian mosaic is also impressive, creating rare religious contrast. The meticulous work of each area of the building is what amazes me- architectural brilliance is how I’d describe the Ayasofya.

Until next time,

Evelina

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