Inside Hagia Sophia in Photos
The church of Hagia Sophia had been on my radar ever since I first visited Istanbul, Turkey. On that ocassion due to a wedding in Ankara I was only able to spend about 48 hours in this great city. I packed in as much sight seeing as I could but eventually time came against me and I missed visiting this great church.
Hagia Sophia which means “Holy Wisdom” was first dedicated in 360 in what was then Constantinople, modern day Istanbul. It was dedicated by the son of the founder of Constantinople, Emperor Constantius. It was originally called Megale Ekklesia or the great church until 430AD when it became known as Hagia Sophia.
On a second visit to Istanbul, I joined the hordes of tourists before visiting the Basillica Cistern, to take in the Hagia Sophia experience. The interior panelled with coloured marbles and ornamental stones was a sight to behold. Large parts of the interior were dark but that did not make the interior design and wall ornaments invicible. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque (Ayasofya Camii) in 1453 until the fall of the Ottoman empire in the 20th century.
The photos below were all taken (without flash which is not allowed to protect the wall ornaments) on a sunny afternoon. Hagia Sophia is now a secular building and has been since 1934 when the government of Turkey turned it into a museum. It is perhaps one of the few iconic churches which by reason of its history has both Islamic and Christian iconography.