Hagia Sophia Museum Church, Ayasofya
Hagia Sophia occupies a prominent place in the history of art and architecture. It is one of the rare works of this size and age that has survived to our day. It is dedicated to Divine Wisdom. During history three separate basilicas built here in different times which were all called by the same name. The first small basilica with a wooden roof was constructed in 360 by Constantinius, the son and successor of Constantine the Great. This church burnt during the riots in 404, and a second basilica that replaced it was inaugurated in 415. During the bloody uprising of “Nika revolt” in 532 including Hagia Sophia numerous building destroyed in the region. When Justinian finally suppressed the revolt, he decided to build a new huge worship building. Construction started in 532 over the remains of the previous basilica and it was completed in the year 537. In Hagia Sophia, Justinian attempt for the first time in the history of architecture to build a gigantic central dome over a rectangular plan. The outer appearance is not elegant; it was built as a shell, without much care for proportions. On the other hand, the interior is as splendid and captivating as a palace. As a whole, it is an “imperial” structure.
In time the side walls kept leaning outwards and the original low dome collapsed in 558. At later periods two times more the main doom was collapsed in 989 and 1346. The immediate restorations undertaken after the Turkish conquest in 1453 to convert it into a mosque saved this beautiful building. Among the major restorations at later times were the buttresses built by architect Sinan in the 16th century and the restoration by the Fossatti brothers in 1947-49. Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum by Ataturk order in 1935 after three years of restorations.
Hagia Sophia on Google Maps