Hagia Sophia

#61 - Istanbul, Turkey
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It's a church, no... a mosque, no... a museum!
It's all of these and much more. Our #61 AbsoluteVisit is a jewel of Byzantine architecture and religious value. Between the famous Dome, constructed with unmistakable precision and the unique mosaics, it's a marriage of ancient and new worlds that deserves the ahhs and ohhs it will inspire with its beauty and history.
Slide 1
Hagia Sophia front dome
by twiga_swala
Slide 2
Hagia Sophia front fountain
by valixq
Slide 3
Hagia Sophia inside
by Can Bozkir
Slide 4
Hagia Sophia inside dome
\ Ryan
Slide 5
Hagia Sophia inside main dome
by rachelvoorhees
Slide 6
Hagia Sophia front dome fountain
by Collin Key (off and away)
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Quick Facts & History

  • The Hagia Sophia is certainly a church of many names. Some of them include: The Church of Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia in Greek), Saint Sophia (Latin) and Ayasofya (Turkish).
  • Not only does the Hagia Sophia have many names, but many identities. Originally a Byzantine church, it was later transformed into a mosque, and then again into a museum, which is its current form today.
  • When the Hagia Sophia was converted from a church to a mosque it was stripped of much of its decor and architectural features, including bells, altars, and other religious pieces, as well as mosaics being painted over.
  • The Hagia Sophia was the main mosque in Istanbul for over 500 years.
  • The features of the Hagia Sophia include 40 windows and a magnificent dome that adorns the top. When the dome was first placed on the structure, it forced the walls outward, buckling under its weight. The supporting walls had to be built up from the inside just to support the heavy headpiece of the building.

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Top Blog Posts

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irst was Hagia Sofia. Hagia Sofia was an Orthodox Basilica, then a Mosque and now a museum. The current structure was completed between 532 and 537 and was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years. Once entering the mosque you start to realize just how huge this structure is it is huge! Unfortunately, other than the size, the mosque itself really lacks a lot of the grandeur that it once had. The majority of the ceilings and walls are painted in mosaic fashion and in some places the ancient mosaic still exists. It was easy for Brad and I to see that if the mosaic still...  read more
Submitted By: Brad Harbach
Submitted On: May 1, 2012

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Hagia Sophia
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