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Hagia Sophia Museum/Church/Mosque

Hagia Sophia Museum/Church/Mosque

Church Of Holy Wisdom Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia Museum Istanbul is known as Holy Wisdom Church Hagia Sophia is an important Byzantine structure in Istanbul and one of the largest monuments in the world. It was built as a Christian church by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century AD (532-537). In the following centuries, it became a mosque, museum, and mosque again. The building reflects the religious changes that have taken place in the area over the centuries, with Islamic minarets and inscriptions, as well as rich mosaics of Christianity. Hagia Sophia, which was built in a very short time of about six years, was completed in 537 AD.

Here is an easy way to get a car with a driver to more easily exploring the Hagia Sophia and other places to visit in Istanbul. Check out our page for private transfers from one point to another

Hagia Sophia Tour

All About Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia unusually for the period in which it was built, the names of the building's architects - Antamos of Tralis and Isidore of Malthus - are as well known as their familiarity with science, mechanics, and mathematics. Hagia Sophia combines a longitudinal basilica and a central building in a completely original way, with a massive 32 meters (105 ft) high main dome supported by pendentives and pendentives on either side of the longitudinal axis. In plan, the building is close to the square. There are three naves separated by columns with porticoes above them, and large marble columns rising to support the dome. The walls above the galleries and the base of the dome are pierced by windows that block the buttresses in daylight, giving the impression of a floating canopy.

Hagia Sophia Museum

After the Ottoman empire, Muslims were used as a mosque for 482 years. Hagia Sophia becomes a museum in 1935 with the order of Atatürk and the decision of the Council of Ministers. Art historians consider the building's beautiful mosaics to be the main source of knowledge about the state of mosaic art at the time shortly after the end of the iconoclasm controversy of the eighth and ninth centuries. In 1985, Hagia Sophia was designated as a component of a UNESCO World Heritage Site called the Historic Districts of Istanbul, which includes other major historical buildings and sites in that city.

Name Of Hagia Sophia

The first name of the church was given as a Great Church (Megale Ecclesia). However, from the 5th century onwards, it continued to be called the Great Church and the Church of Hagia Sophia. After the conquest of Istanbul in 1453, the name was changed to only call "Hagia Sophia Church" as it is today. In terms of where the building's name came from; The idea that it was dedicated to a saint named Sophia is wrong. The church is dedicated to Thea Sophia, the second element of the Christian Trinity, Holy Wisdom. The word Hagia Sophia, later named after her, consists of the words aya (saint) and Sophos (wisdom), meaning holy/divine wisdom.

Hagia Sophia Was Re-built Three Times

After the acceptance of Christianity as a legal faith by Constantine  (324-337), the construction of large churches began in various regions of the empire. The first building of Hagia Sophia on the first hill (Sarayburnu), in the form of a wooden basilica, was built in the 4th century. Although this first structure is usually attributed to Constantinos I. (324-337), the church was completed in the time of his son Constantius (337-361), and the opening ceremony of the first structure of Hagia Sophia took place on February 15, 360

This first building did not last long. On June 20, 404, the church was burned down in the fire that started the exile of Patriarch Ioannis Chrysostomos and the uprising that followed. Second. Theodosius (408-450) rebuilt the building with five naves, and the church was reopened on October 10, 415. The second church was burned again in the Nika uprising, which broke out on the night of January 13-14, 532, against Justinian (527-565) and his wife.

Who Built Hagia Sophia?

 Moreover, he commissioned Emperor Anthimios of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus to build a larger church from the old and innovative buildings rather than to restore the church according to its former condition. Procopius (500-562) wrote that the rebuilding of the church began on 23 February. According to the information that has been reached today, the church is also the building that was rebuilt on this date. The construction of the temple lasted until 537. It is known that the Byzantine emperor Justinian I. was directly involved in the Hagia Sophia Church. Hagia Sophia was inaugurated with a great ceremony on December 27, 537.

Emperor Gate Of Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia Gates

Emperors Gate İn Hagia Sophia

The magnificent entrance gate of Hagia Sophia, also called the Emperor's Gate because it was used only by the emperor and his entourage, provides the passage from the inner portico of Hagia Sophia to the main space. The largest door of Hagia Sophia, with a bronze frame, is made of oak wood and is 7 meters high. Door leaves from the 6th century are covered with bronze panels. According to Eastern Roman sources, the Emperor's Gate was made from the woods of Noah's Ark, and according to another legend, it was made of the wood of the ark, where the sacred tablets of the Jews were stored. Eastern Roman sources claim that it was made from the wood of Noah's Ark. The embroideries on it are the first embroideries of Hagia Sophia discovered.

Hagia Sophia Door Embroidery

-Poseidon's 3-headed pitchfork and dolphin figures were made. Poseidon's pitchfork was probably made as a scythe to protect it from earthquakes.

- At the bottom of the door, the holy grail is seen in the temple symbol.

Beautiful Door/Hagia Sophia

Located in the south of the inner narthex, at the exit, BC. The bronze door, dated to the 2nd century, is the oldest architectural element used as a spolia in Hagia Sophia. The gate, which is decorated with relief vegetal and geometric patterns, was removed from a pagan temple in Tarsus in 838 by Emperor Theophilos (829-842) and placed here. In the Eastern Roman Period, the Emperors entered the inner narthex through this door, which was also called the "Beautiful Gate" or "The Vestibule Gate", and passed to the main space from there.

On the bronze door wings, the words "May God and Jesus Help" and the words Emperor Theodosius, Emperor Michael, Emperor Theophilos, Empress Theodora, and Michael Niktion and monograms representing the date 838 are seen.

 From The Pagan Church To The Present Hagia Sophia

The original church on the site of Hagia Sophia is said to have been built by Constantine I in 325 on the foundations of a pagan temple. It was consecrated by his son, Constantius II, in 360. It was damaged in 404 by a fire that broke out during riots that followed the second exile of St. John Chrysostom, then Patriarch of Constantinople. It was rebuilt and expanded by the Roman Emperor Constantine I. The restored building was reconsecrated in 415 by Theodosius II. The church was burnt down again in the Nika rebellion of January 532, a circumstance that gave Justinian I the opportunity to portray a magnificent replacement.

The structure now standing is essentially a 6th-century edifice, although an earthquake caused a partial collapse of the dome in 558 (562 was restored) and there was two other parts collapsed, after which it was rebuilt on a smaller scale and the whole church reinforced on the outside. It was restored again in the middle of the fourteenth century. For more than a thousand years it was the cathedral of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople. It was sacked in 1204 by the Venetians and Crusaders in the Fourth Crusade

How Many Times Has Hagia Sophia Turned Into A Mosque, Museum, And Church?

After the Turkish conquest of Constantinople in 1453, Mehmed II repurposed it as a mosque, with the addition of a wooden minaret (outside, a tower used for the call to prayer), a large chandelier, a mihrab (a niche indicating the direction of Mecca) and a minibar. He or his son Bayezid II erected the red minaret, which is located in the southeast corner of the structure. The original wooden minaret has not survived. Bayezid II erected the narrow white minaret on the northeastern side of the mosque. The two symmetrical minarets on the western side were likely commissioned by Selim II and Murad III and built by the famous Ottoman architect Sinan in the 16th century.

Charming Orthodox Church Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia Columns & Marbles From Ancient Cities

Emperor Justinian requested materials from all over the empire to rebuild the greatest church, and he also collected materials fitted for old buildings. Subsequently, eight large columns of red porphyry were brought from Heliopolis in Egypt, from the Temple of Artemis in western Anatolia at Ephesus, from Cyzicus, and from Baalbek in Syria. In addition, different types and colors of marble from different regions were transported here.

The Inner Dome Of Hagia Sophia

The addition of a huge dome to the architecture of the new Hagia Sophia church was unusual for a church where this size and height dominated the temple. The height of the dome covering the main area is 55.60 meters from the ground, and its diameter is 31.87 in the north-south direction. meters and 30.86 meters in an east-west direction. Huge marbles, stones, and bricks were used in the construction of Hagia Sophia, which is an engineering marvel, and light and strong bricks specially made from Rhodes soil were used to prevent the collapse of the dome in case of a possible earthquake.

Hagia Sophia Mosaic Apse

It is believed that all the abstract mosaics in the building were removed during the iconoclastic period. After the end of this period in 843, the first stereoscopic mosaics, the apse mosaics, were made in Hagia Sophia. In the mosaic in the center, the Virgin Mary is depicted seated on a padded throne adorned with precious stones. As in most Christian Cathedrals and churches, you can find mosaics and statues of the Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus in her arms. By this apsis, the Virgin Mary holds the baby Jesus in her arms.

Hagia Sophia Mosaics- Two Angels In The Apse

Although it has survived to this day, only the tip of the sacred wing and part of the foot in the depiction of Michael has survived to this day. It is thought that these two angels were added in the 9th century.

Hagia Sophia Mosaics

All About Hagia Sophia Mosaics

The meaning of all the mosaics of Hagia Sophia

VI Lyon Mosaic

The mosaics, dating back to the 10th century, are on the Emperor's Gate. Jesus is depicted in the middle of the scene holding an open Bible in his left hand. In his right hand is the VI. emperor, who is depicted prostrating himself at his feet. Park Lyon (816-912). To the right of the mosaic is a depiction of Gabriel in a medallion, and to the left is a depiction of Mary in a medallion.

Presentation Mosaic

It is located above the beautiful portal to the south of the inner gallery. The mosaic on the ceremonial door used by the imperial and her family was found by Fossati in 1849 during the restoration of Hagia Sophia. In the middle of the golden mosaic panel, the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus are depicted on her lap. On the left side of the Virgin Mary, Constantinos is depicted with a figure symbolizing Constantinople, and on the right side, Justinian is depicted with a figure symbolizing Hagia Sophia. It is said here that the emperors gave the city and the church to Mary to protect the city and the church.

Angel Depictions in the Dome

At each corner of the pendants, seraphim angels are depicted, who is believed to protect God's throne in heaven. Images of angels in the eastern part are made of mosaics. The paintings in the west have been restored as frescoes because they were damaged during the Eastern Roman era. The angels' fees were closed during the Ottoman period.

Mosaic Of The Patriarch At Timfanon

Although the exact dates of their construction are unknown, these mosaics, which are believed to have been made in the 9th and 10th centuries, are located in half-arched niches on the tympanum walls in the north of the building. Only three of the patriarchal figures depicted in the mosaics have survived to this day in a well-preserved state. The young Patriarch of Constantinople, Ignatius, ranks first, the Patriarch of Constantinople, Saint Younis Chrysostomos, ranks fourth, and the Patriarch of Antioch, Saint Ignatius Theophoros, ranks sixth. The figure depicted in the seventh position is believed to be Athanasius.

Emperor Alexander Mosaic

In the mosaics located in the southwestern part of the northern gallery,  The brother Emperor Alexandros (912-913), with whom VI. Lyon shared that his reign is depicted. The mosaics dating back to the 10th century are one of the most intact among the Hagia Sophia mosaics.

Mosaic of Zoe and Komnenos

The Zoe mosaic, one such mosaic, is on the wall at the eastern end of the southern portico of Hagia Sophia and is dated to the first half of the 11th century. In his current form, Jesus was seated in the center with Empress Zoe on either side of him and his wife Emperor Ninth. Portraits of Constantine (1042-1055). The present form of Mosaic IX. Although a depiction of Constantinos has been found, it is likely that the mosaic was first dated to Zoe's first wife, the third. It was made during the reign of the Romanos (1028-1034).

In the Komnenos mosaic, the Virgin Mary holds the infant Jesus before her standing in the center and the second emperor on either side. Ioannis Komnenos (1118-1143) and his wife, Empress Irene, are depicted. On the right side of the mosaic, is the couple's son Alexios. It is generally accepted that these mosaics are the subject of generous donations to Hagia Sophia. The money bags in the hands of the emperors depicted on the mosaics also prove this.

Deesis Composition Mosaics

The Deesis mosaic, located on the front of the open door to the gallery in the rectory, is one of the most famous of the Hagia Sophia mosaics. Although there are different opinions about their dating, the mosaic, which is accepted to have been made in the thirteenth century, is an important beginning in Eastern Roman painting. In the mosaic in the middle of the scene, Ioannis Prodromos is depicted to the right of Jesus and Mary to the left. Mary and Ioannis Prodromos are depicted as begging Jesus for humanity's forgiveness at the Last Judgment. These three figures reflect the pictorial art of the Hellenistic period.

Hagia Sophia Church

The Latest Status Of Hagia Sophia

''Hagia Sophia after the conquest of Istanbul by the Ottoman Turks in 1453, as a symbol of the conquest, the Hagia Sophia Church was immediately converted into a mosque.''(Wikipedia)

Hagia Sophia Museum, which was converted into a museum in 1934 with the decision of the Council of Turkish Ministers, was converted into a mosque again with a political decision on Friday, 24 July 2020, after the Council of State annulled the decision.

With the decision published by the Council of State, it annulled the decision in 1934 to transform Hagia Sophia from a mosque into a museum. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's signing of the Presidential Decree stipulating the transfer of Hagia Sophia to the Presidency of Religious Affairs and opening it to worship, we witnessed the historic day when Hagia Sophia will be opened for Muslims with the Friday prayer on 24 July 2020.


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