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istanbul ayasofya turkey

Istanbul Ayasofya

* Operated by Jasminne Tour &
Travel Agency Istanbul, Turkey

 

 

 INFORMATION ABOUT ST. SOPHIA

 

This ancient basilica, built by Constantine the Great and reconstructed by Justinian in the 6th century, is one of the architectural marvels of all time. Its immense dome rises 55 meters above the ground and is 31 meters in diameter. The beautiful decorations include fine Byzantine Mozaics.

Aya Sophia was, for nearly a thousand years, the largest enclosed space in the world, and still seen as one of the world’s most important architectural monuments. It is one of Turkey’s most popular attractions, drawn by the sheer spectacle of its size, architecture, mosaics and art. For 916 years it was a church, then a mosque for 481 years, and since 1935 has been a museum. Thought to have been constructed by Emperor Konstantinos I (324 – 337) it was burned down during a revolt.

Rebuilt by Emperor Theodosium II, it was opened for worship 415 and once again was burned to the ground, during the Nika revolts of 532. Emperor Iustanianus (527 – 565) wanted to construct something even bigger than the original two and appointed architects Isidoros from Miletos, and Anthemios from Tralles to build the Aya Sophia which still stands. Columns, heads, marble and coloured stones were imported to Istanbul from ancient cities in Anatolia for the purpose. The construction began on 23 December 532, and was completed exactly five years later. The main, central section measured 100m x 70m, covered with a 55m high dome which was a mammoth 30m in diameter – appearing to be a great feat of design. The mosaics are of great importance, and the oldest ones are dominated by geometric and plant motifs decorated with gold. The worst desecration of the church was in 1204, ransacked by Catholic soldiers during the Fourth Crusade. In 1453, after a failure of the Byzantine Church to fend off the Turks, Mehmet the Conqueror captured the city, rode into Aya Sofia and immediately turned it into a mosque. It was repaired several times, and Islamic ornamentation added, for example an extract of the Koran by calligrapher Izzet Efendi inscribed on the dome. The other reminders of its previous status as a mosque include huge wooden plaques bearing the names of Allah, the Prophet Mohammed and the first four caliphs. The marble and mosaics remain the most interesting aspects today. The columns supporting the gallery are made from antique marble, and in the western gallery is the green marble which marks the position of the throne of the Empress. The impressive figurative mosaics include Virgin and Child flanked by two emperors, dating back to the late 10th century, and one depicting Christ, the Virgin, and St John the Baptists. Even though there is partial damage, the haunting images on their faces remain as strong as ever.

St Sophia is Open every day except (Monday's)

St. Sophia ( Hagia Sophia ) Dolmabahce Palace Archeological Museum
Blue Mosque ( Mavi Camii ) Basilica Cistern Beyoglu
Topkapi Palace Chora Church Mosaic Musuem
Hippodrome Airport Princess Islands
Bosphorus Rumeli Fortress Bursa
Grand Bazaar Beylerbeyi Palace Important Phones
Galata Tower Maidens Tower Shopping
Suleymaniye Mosque Golden Horn Consulate
 
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