Turkish: Ayasofya, Latin: Sancta Sophia or Sancta Sapientia) is a former patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, now a museum, in Istanbul, Turkey. Famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture. It was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years, until the completion of the Medieval Seville Cathedral in 1520.
The current building was originally constructed as a church between 532 and 537 AD on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, and was in fact the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site (the previous two had both been destroyed by riots). It was designed by two architects, Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles. The Church contained a large collection of holy relics and featured, among other things, a 50 foot (15 m) silver iconostasis. It was the patriarchal church of the Patriarch of Constantinople and the religious focal point of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly 1000 years.
In 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks and Sultan Mehmed II ordered the building to be converted into a mosque. The bells, altar, iconostasis, and sacrificial vessels were removed, and many of the mosaics were eventually plastered over. The Islamic features - such as the mihrab, the minbar, and the four minarets outside - were added over the course of its history under the Ottomans. It remained as a mosque until 1935, when it was converted into a museum by the secular Republic of Turkey.
For almost 500 years the principal mosque of Istanbul, Hagia Sophia served as a model for many of the Ottoman mosques such as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque of Istanbul), the Şehzade Mosque, the Süleymaniye Mosque, and the Rüstem Pasha Mosque.
Although it is sometimes referred to as Saint Sophia (Greek for wisdom), the Greek name in full is Church of the Holy Wisdom of God Ναός τῆς Ἁγίας τοῦ Θεοῦ Σοφίας - and it was dedicated to the Holy Wisdom of God rather than a specific saint named Sophia
Favorite thing: Visit the Hagia Sofia (devine wisdom) church. This church (turned into a mosque by the Muslims) served as a major influence for the Blue Mosque, standing right across the street, and for a lot of other mosques built all over the Turkish empire.
Constructed more than 1,400,00 years ago this architectural monument is a proof of the sophistication of the Byzantine era.
It under went many renovation/ additions along the different periods and goverments that govern in the capital.
A real MUST in Istambul. Closed on mondays. Opens 9.30-16.30.
Amazing in the outside, is even more amazing inside. Its huge cupola is almost 'floating', only sustained by a few columns. Built with materials from Ephesus and Athens, the bricks are made with material from Rodhes and are 12 times lighter than normal ones!! Built as an orthodox church, Mehmet I turned it into a mosque after conquering the city (1459). Ataturk made a museum of it.
AYASOFYA:Mimarisi, ihtiþamý, büyüklüðü ve iþlevselliði yönünden ilk ve son ünik uygulama olarak görülen Ayasofya; Osmanlý camilerine fikir bazýnda da olsa esin kaynaðý olmuþ, doðu-batý sentezinin bir ürünüdür. Bu eser dünya mimarlýk tarihinin günümüze kadar ayakta kalmýþ en önemli anýtlarý arasýnda yer almaktadýr. Bu nedenle, Ayasofya, tarihi geçmiþinin yaný sýra, mimarisi, mozaikleri ve Türk çaðý yapýlarý ile yüzyýllar boyunca tüm insanlýðýn ilgisini çekmiþtir.
Ayasofya 916 yýl kilise, 481 yýl cami olmuþ, 1935'ten bu yana müze olarak tarihi iþlevini sürdürmektedir.
Bizans tarihçileri (Theophanes, Nikephoros, Gramerci Leon) ilk Ayasofya'nýn Ýmparator I. Konstantinos (324-337) zamanýnda yapýldýðýný ileri sürmüþlerdir. Bazilika planlý, ahþap çatýlý bu yapý, bir ayaklanma sonunda yanmýþtýr. Bu yapýdan hiçbir kalýntý günümüze gelmemiþtir.
Ýmparator II. Theodosius, Ayasofya'yý ikinci defa yaptýrmýþ ve 415'te ibadete açmýþtýr. Yine bazilika planlý bu yapý 532'de Nika ihtilali sýrasýnda yanmýþtýr. 1936 yýlýnda yapýlan kazýlarda bununla ilgili bazý kalýntýlar ortaya çýkmýþtýr. Bunlar mabede giriþi gösteren basamaklar, sütunlar, baþlýklar, çeþitli mimari parçalardýr.
Ýmparator Iustinianus (527-565) ilk iki Ayasofya'dan daha büyük bir kilise yaptýrmak istemiþ, çaðýn ünlü mimarlarýndan Miletos'lu Ýsidoros ve Tralles'i Anthemios'a günümüze ulaþan Ayasofya'yý yaptýrmýþtýr. Anadolu'nun antik þehir kalýntýlarýndan sütunlar, baþlýklar, mermerler ve renkli taþlar Ayasofya'da kullanýlmak üzere Ýstanbul'a getirilmiþtir.
Ayasofya'nýn yapýmýna 23 Aralýk 532'de baþlanmýþ, 27 Aralýk 537'de tamamlanmýþtýr. Mimari yönden incelendiðinde büyük bir orta mekân, iki yan mekân (nef), absis, iç ve dýþ nartekslerden meydana gelmiþtir. Ýç mekân, 100 x 70 m. ölçüsünde olup, üzeri dört büyük ayaðýn taþýdýðý 55 m. yüksekliðinde, 30.31 m. çapýnda kubbe ile örtülmüþtür.
Ayasofya'nýn mimarisinin yaný sýra mozaikleri de büyük önem taþýmaktadýr. En eski mozaikler iç narteks ve yan neflerde altýn yaldýzlý geometrik ve bitkisel motifli olan mozaiklerdir. Figürlü mozaikler IX.-XII. yüzyýllarda yapýlmýþtýr. Bunlar Ýmparator kapýsý üzerinde, absiste, çýkýþ kapýsý üzerinde ve üst kat galeride görülmektedir.
Ayasofya Ýstanbul'un fethi ile birlikte baþlayan Türk döneminde çeþitli onarýmlar görmüþtür. Mihrap çevresi, Türk çini sanatý ve Türk yazý sanatýnýn en güzel örneklerini içerir. Bunlardan kubbedeki ünlü Türk Hattatý Kazasker Mustafa Ýzzet Efendi'nin Kuran'dan alýnma bir suresi ile 7.50 m. çapýndaki yuvarlak levhalar en ilgi çekici olanýdýr. Bu levhalarda, Allah, Muhammed, Ömer, Osman, Ali, Hasan, Ebu Bekir, Hüseyin'in isimleri yazýlýdýr. Mihrabýn yan duvarlarýnda ise Osmanlý padiþahlarýnýn yazýp buraya hediye ettiði levhalar vardýr.
Sultan II. Selim, Sultan III. Mehmet, Sultan III. Murat ve þehzadelerin türbeleri, Sultan I. Mahmut'un þadýrvaný, sýbyan mektebi, imareti, kütüphanesi, Sultan Abdülmecid'in hünkar mahfeli, muvakkithanesi, Ayasofya'daki Türk çaðý örnekleri olup türbeler, iç donanýmý, çinileri ve mimarisiyle klasik Osmanlý türbe geleneðinin en güzel örneklerini oluþturmaktadýr.
Müze pazartesi dýþýnda hergün 09.30-16.30 saatleri arasýnda gezilebilir.
Favorite thing: visit the Hagia Sophia Mosque, considered as the eight World wonder. The actual basilica was built in the year 537 as the past churches located in the same place were destroyed or burned. It was in that time the biggest Christian church. Even though the dome fell in the year 558 a new one was built afterwards. The basilica was converted into a mosque in 1453 when the Turkish conquered the city. At that time the minarets were added. It has been restored in the past years and as a exemple you have to admire the Byzantine mosaics discovered in 1930. The central nave is a huge magnificent room where you can see the fantastic dome.
Smell of the dream
Dead tired Hodja came home and thought:
~ Suppose that I have delighted soup here, now... And say that I add a little bit red peppery fresh butter to the surface of the soup... And say that I eat spoonfuls out of the soup dish...
While Hodja was thinking the soup, the door was knocked. Hodja opened the door and a neighbour son appeared with an empty bowl.
- What is that, Child? asked Hodja
- Please Hodja, my mother is very ill. Could you give us some soup?
Hodja was confused and terrified. When he send the boy back he thought again:
~ Neigbours!, They are smelling even your dreams.
Fondest memory: AYASOFIA MOSQUE
AYASOFYA - Hagia Sophia
From the time it was built Haghia Sophia, the Church of Divine Wisdom, has
astonished and entranced all who beheld it, with its great dome symbolising
unattainable infinity. Haghia Sophia was used as a church for 916 years and
as a mosque for 481, so serving as a place of worship for nearly one and a
half millennia. When it was first built it was known as the Megale Ekklesia or
Great Church. After the Turkish conquest it was converted into a mosque, but
continued to be known by the Turkish rendering of its Greek name, Ayasofya.
In 1934, at the wish of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Turkish
Republic, the Council of Ministers turned the building into a museum.Haghia
Sophia was constructed by the Byzantine emperor Justinian between 532
and 537. It was the third church of this name on the same site. The first was
a basilica erected on the site of a former Roman temple, and according to the
historian Socrates was dedicated on 15 February 360. It was destroyed by
fire in the year 404 in an uprising against Emperor Arcadius. The second
church was built by Emperor Theodosius II and dedicated on 10 October 415,
only to be burnt down in the Nika Revolt on 13 January 532, during the fifth
year of the reign of Justinian I (527-565).After crushing the revolt Justinian
commanded that a new church be built on a far grander scale than the
The chronicler Procopius relates that two architects, Anthemius of Tralles
and Isidorus of Miletus, were appointed for the task. One hundred master
craftsmen, one thousand journeymen, and ten thousand labourers were
employed. Justinian wanted the church to be completed in the shortest
possible time, and sent orders out to all the provinces of his realm
commanding that columns and marbles from ancient cities be sent to .
Istanbul Shiploads arrived from Syria, Egypt and Greece as well as from
Asia Minor.Construction commenced on 23 February 532 and apart from
the decoration was completed in the astonishingly short time of 5 years 10
months and 24 days. The church was dedicated on 27 December 537 at a
magnificent opening ceremony. Justinian drove up to the church in his
victory chariot, and was welcomed in the atrium by Patriarch Menas. The
two men entered the church hand in hand. Justinian was so impressed by
its splendour, that he exclaimed, ‘Thanks be to God for blessing me with the
good fortune of constructing such a place of worship.
At the inauguration one thousand bulls, six thousand sheep, six hundred
stags, one thousand pigs, ten thousand chickens and ten thousand roosters
were sacrificed and alms were distributed to the poor.Haghia Sophia is the
most outstanding example of a domed basilica. The central space has an
area of seven thousand square metres, and is flanked by two aisles, each
divided from the nave by four verd antique columns. These eight columns
were brought from Ephesus, while the eight porphyry columns beneath the
semidomes were brought from Egypt. Altogether the building contains 107
columns, whose capitals are among the finest examples of Byzantine stone
carving. These capitals bear the monograms of the Emperor Justinian and
his wife Theodora.The dome rises to 56.6 metres at its apex, and has a
diameter of 32.37 metres. The original dome collapsed in an earthquake j
ust 22 years after the church was completed, and was rebuilt in 562 by
Isidorus theYounger, nephew of Isidorus of Miletus. Isidorus the Younger
raised the height of the dome by 2.65 metres to lessen its outward thrust.
During the Latin occupation of Istanbul by the Fourth Crusaders between
1203 and 1261, the church was used for Roman Catholic rites.
Emperor Alexius IV was forced to hand over many of the sacred objects
belonging to the church in repayment for debts to the Latins, and these are
now in Venice.he mosaics of Haghia Sophia are exquisite works of art. In
the semidome of the apse is a large mosaic depicting the Mother of God
with the Infant Christ, which makes abundant use of gold and silver. The
dress of Mary is worked in dark blue glass mosaic, and she sits on a
magnificent bejewelled throne reminiscent of an imperial throne. The faces
of mother and infant are entrancingly beautiful.Another mosaic not to be
missed is that above the Imperial Gate showing Leo VI (886-912) bowing
before Christ and asking his sins to be forgiven. A mosaic on the side door
of the inner narthex depicts two emperors with Mary and the Infant Christ.
One of the emperors is Constantine I, shown presenting Mary and Christ
with a model of Constantinople, which was named after him, and the other is
Justinian I, who is presenting a model of the church that he founded. In the
south gallery is the Deisis mosaic and two others depicting Constantine IX
Monomachos and the Empress Zoe (11th century) and John Comnenus II
with his wife Eirene and son Alexius (12th century) respectively. In the north
gallery is the mosaic depicting Emperor Alexander (10th century). Four
minarets were added to the outside of the building at various times after its
conversion into a mosque. The huge buttresses against the exterior walls
were built in the 16th century by the Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan to
support the building, and have enabled it to survive to the present day.
Additions within the church are the mihrap or prayer niche inside the apse,
the bronze lamps to either side of the niche which were brought here from
Buda, and the pulpit and imperial and müezz’sal galleries of carved marble.
The library beyond the south aisle was built by Mahmud I in 1739. All the
additions were designed with the character of the existing building in mind,
the use of marble for the Ottoman additions reflecting the extensive use of
this material in the Byzantine building. The inscriptions in the dome and the
large calligraphic panels bearing the names of God, Muhammed and the four
caliphs are the work of the celebrated 19th century calligrapher, Kazasker
Mustafa Ýzzet Efendi.
Visit Ayasofya Museum, Sultanahmet Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Dolmabahce Palace.
Have a nice view in Eminou.
Shopping in Kapali Carsi Bazzar.
Fondest memory: Near the Ayasofya Museum, there are many restaurants on the street. The seafood is very good and cheap and the atmosphere is good.
See the St. Sophia, Blue Mosque and the underground cistern. Go across the Bosphorus Strait to view Istanbul from the Galata Tower.
Fondest memory: The Turkish people are the most hospitable people on earth. I will return to Turkey, hopefully soon.
visit the Aya Sofia, the once-Christian-cathedral, then Muslim mosque, cum musuem.
Fondest memory: Being in a city where you can drive from one continent to another, crossing on a beautful bridge, to go shopping in European Istanbul.
Favorite thing: Santa Sophia is a new candidate of the new seven wonders of the world... I think it deserves to be one of the best.. What do you think?
Favorite thing: See outstanding example of Byzantine architecture in Hagia Sofia - built by Emporer Justinian between 532-536 AD. Amazing mosaics and the symmetry of the place is awe-inspiring.