Hagia Sophia is located in Istanbul, Turkey, and is known as a great symbol of both art history and Christianity. It is also one of the largest tourist attractions in Turkey, and many pictures of Istanbul and photographs of Turkey overall feature this beautiful structure. Hagia Sophia history experts often credit the Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great, for founding the church. Hagia Sophia history dates back 1500 years ago, when construction work on “The Great Church” was started. The Hagia Sophia, with its massive dome, 40 windows, and 100 square meter columns, took five years to build. It was built right on top of an ancient temple to Apollo, overlooking the Sea of Marmara. The church of Hagia Sophia was known as the Cathedral of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople for more than a thousand years. The city eventually changed its name to Istanbul and today the church is known as Hogia Sophia, or the Church of Holy Wisdom. Although the Hagia Sophia no longer conducts ceremonies, it attracts visitors from all over the world who are interested in art, architecture, history, and religion.
Although Hagia Sophia Turkey has many parts that are original, Hagia Sophia history has witnessed two fires. The first fire occurred in the year 404, when rioters burned the church down in protest to the banishment of John Chrysostom, the former Archbishop of Constantinople. The church was damaged so severely that it took around ten years to rebuild. The church of Hagia Sophia enjoyed some peace for 117 years and was then burned down again, this time as part of the Nica Riots. It wasn’t only the Church of Hagia Sophia that was affected. The fire was so severe that it nearly destroyed the entire city of Constantinople. The church was again rebuilt, but the damaging times in Sophia history were far from over. In 1346 and more recently in 1999, the church faced considerable damage from earthquakes. Luckily, the tools of modern engineering have helped prevent the church from suffering any major damage in the last few years.
The Hagia Sofia is located in Istanbul’s main historical district, Sultanahmet. This area of the city is best explored by foot or by public transportation. Istanbul has underground trains, a subway system, and a tram. All three of the public transportation systems are inexpensive and reliable. If you are using a rental car to explore Turkey, you may want to keep the car parked in your hotel’s parking lot for the duration of your stay in Istanbul. Istanbul streets tend to be crowded and narrow and traffic can be chaotic. It is also extremely difficult to find a parking spot.
The Church of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul is open to tourists everyday except Monday, from 9am to 4pm. It’s best to avoid the weekends when crowds are at their largest. This rule can also be applied to visiting other attractions in Turkey, such as the Topkapi Palace. Admission prices are $5 for adults and children and $2.50 for students. There is also an extensive gift shop. The awe inspiring church is full of mosaic tiles and galleries of paintings that depict religious scenes. One of the most interesting mosaics marks the spot where Byzantine emperors were crowned. . Architectural history buffs marvel at the structure of the building, which is arguably the most important existing piece of Byzantine architecture.
The main architectural feature of Hagia Sophia Turkey is its massive central dome. The dome is carried by four pendentives, which are concrete structures that allow the circular dome to be placed atop a rectangular base. Many people consider the walls and ceilings of the church to be great pieces of art. Nearly every square inch of interior surface is covered by green, purple, and white marble mosaics. Some of the most notable mosaics depicts the Virgin and Child as well as the Archangel Gabriel. Although several of the mosaics are damaged, others remain clear and intact. Some of the mosaics are so detailed that they look like paintings at first glance. With its impressive history and beautifully restored architecture, the church of Hagia Sophia is a main highlight of Istanbul.