Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sofia

cathedral, Istanbul, Turkey

Hagia Sophia, Turkish Ayasofya, Latin Sancta Sophia, also known as Church of the Holy Wisdom or Church of the Divine Wisdom, is a critical Byzantine shape in Istanbul and one of the world’s fabulous monuments. It changed into built as a Christian church within the sixth century CE (532–537) under the direction of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I. In subsequent centuries it became a mosque, a museum, and a mosque once more. The building reflects the spiritual adjustments that have played out over the centuries, with the minarets and inscriptions of Islam and the lavish mosaics of Christianity.


The original church at the site of the Hagia Sophia is said to have been ordered to be built with the aid of Constantine I in 325 on the foundations of a pagan temple. His son, Constantius II, consecrated it in 360. It changed into damaged in 404 by a fireplace that erupted for the duration of a rebellion following the second banishment of St. John Chrysostom, then patriarch of Constantinople. It turned into rebuilt and enlarged by using the Roman emperor Constans I. The restored building became rededicated in 415 through Theodosius II. The church changed into burned again in the Nika riot of January 532, a circumstance that gave Justinian I an opportunity to envision a splendid substitute.

Istanbul: Hagia Sophia

The resultant Hagia Sophia changed into construction within a remarkably brief time of approximately six years, finished in 537 CE. Unusual for the duration wherein it was built, the names of the building’s architects—Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus—are widely recognized, as is their familiarity with mechanics and arithmetic. The shape now standing is essentially the 6th-century edifice. However, an earthquake brought on a partial disintegration of the dome in 558 (restored in 562), and there were further partial collapses, and then it changed and rebuilt to a smaller scale, and the whole church was reinforced from the outdoor. It changed into restoration again in the mid-14th century. For extra than a millennium, it became the Cathedral of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. It was looted in 1204 with the aid of the Venetians and the Crusaders at the Fourth Crusade. After the Turkish conquest of Constantinople in 1453, Mehmed II had it repurposed as a mosque, with the addition of a wooden minaret (on the outside, a tower used for the summons to prayer), an awesome chandelier, a mihrab (niche indicating the direction of Mecca), and a minbar (pulpit). Either he or his son Bayezid II erected the red minaret that stands at the southeast nook of the shape. The authentic timber minaret no longer survives. Bayezid II erected the slender white minaret at the northeast side of the mosque. The two equal minarets on the western side were probably commissioned by using Selim II or Murad III and built by renowned Ottoman architect Sinan in the 1500s. In 1934 Turkish Pres. Kemal Atatürk secularized the building, and in 1935 it was made right into a museum. In 1985 the Hagia Sophia turned into a distinctive aspect of a UNESCO World Heritage site called the Historic Areas of Istanbul, which includes that town’s other primary ancient buildings and locations. Pres. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made the debatable decision in 2020 to transform the construction lower back right into a mosque. Islamic prayers had been held shortly after the assertion, with curtains partly concealing the construction’s Christian imagery. As Turkey’s most popular travel destination, the Hagia Sophia remained open to site visitors.

Hagia Sophia floor plan

The Hagia Sophia combines a longitudinal basilica and a centralized building in a completely original manner, with a big 32-metre (one hundred and five-foot) essential dome supported on pendentives and two semidomes, one on either side of the longitudinal axis. Though Justinian’s domed basilicas are the models from which Byzantine structure evolved, the Hagia Sophia remained particular, and no attempt was thereafter made by Byzantine developers to emulate it. In plan, the construction is almost rectangular, but, looked at from within, it seems to be square, for the exquisite semidomes at the east and west lengthen the impact of the roof. There are three aisles separated via columns with galleries above, and super marble piers growing up at both cease to aid the dome. The columns are of the finest marble, selected for their colour and variety, at the same time as the lower parts of the walls are blanketed with marble slabs. The curtain partitions (non-load-bearing outdoor walls) above the galleries and the base of the dome are pierced through home windows, which inside the glare of daylight, obscure the help and deliver the effect that the canopy floats on air. Like the elaborately carved cornices and capitals, the marble columns live to tell the tale, but the relaxation of the original decoration, together with the maximum of the mosaics that decorated the higher elements of the walls and the roof, have perished. They have all been described in the most sparkling phrases by way of early writers. But sufficient does continue to exist to warrant the inclusion of Hagia Sophia inside the listing of the sector’s best buildings. Art historians don’t forget the construction’s beautiful mosaics to be the principal source of know-how about the state of mosaic art in the time quickly after the stop of Iconoclastic Controversy in the 8th and ninth centuries. Parts of the redecoration that the church underwent in the remaining 1/2 of the ninth century were exposed in recent times. In their colour and method, those display a continuation of the early Byzantine tradition: the preference for instead sturdy, clean tints and the outcomes created by means of such strategies because of the tilting of tesserae and the turning of gold cubes. The preoccupation with mild seems more potent than ever: in badly lit places within the vestibule and gallery, the gold ground presents a high percent of silver cubes, a number of the gold ones to add to the sparkle. Stylistically, new ground has been broken. Particularly in faces, the tesserae are set in wavy traces, which split the modelling in bandlike configurations. Linear (the expression of shape in terms of line in place of shade and tone) had taken a wonderful leap forward. In the association and distribution of pix, new capabilities are seen. In the apse of the Hagia Sophia, the Virgin with Child sits surrounded by an extensive expanse of gold. The tendency to depict iconlike, motionless, mosaic figures isolated on a gold historical past has pre-Iconoclastic precedents; however, from the ninth century onward, it became a main ornamental precept. Nineteenth-century drawings display that the ornament of the Hagia Sophia also protected a comprehensive collection of saints. Of those saints, which stood in rows at the nave walls above the galleries, just a few have survived. According to the drawings, those of the middle area represented prophets and those of the lower depicted holy bishops. Higher up, there may also be a guard of angels and, within the centre of the cupola, likely a mosaic of Christ. The disposition of the photos, in different phrases, might also have corresponded to that which presently was being attempted out mainly for the new church architecture and which turned into to end up the widely widespread gadget of decoration in the middle Byzantine church buildings.


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