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Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya)

The Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) is considered as one of the most important landmarks in the city. In fact, this spectacular ancient construction has a rich historical background. This emblematic structure is an Orthodox basilica that later became a mosque and now it serves as an important museum in the city. One of the most notable characteristics about this church is the big dome. In fact, the Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) was considered for several years as the biggest cathedral before the construction of the Seville Cathedral.

Aya Sofya The Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) was constructed under the order of Justinian (Byzantine Emperor) between the years of 532 and 537. The designer of this architectonic master piece was the famous Greek architect Isidore of Miletus. However, Isidore finished the project with the help of Tralles (a recognized mathematician) and Anthemius (a physicist). Inside these old buildings, tourists can find amazing collections, holy relics and other religious artworks.

After the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 by the Ottoman Empire, the Sultan Mehmen II saw the church and fell in love with it at the first sight. That is why that the church was transformed into a mosque. Several features such as the beautiful bells, the big altar and the spectacular vessels were taken off and new Islamic features were plastered over instead. As an example of the new Islamic features we can mention the minbar, the minarets and the mihrab, just to mention a few.

In the year of 1931, the church that was converted into an amazing mosque was closed to enter into a restoration process. Four years later, it opened its doors as a museum in 1935 thanks to an initiative of the Turkey Government.

    Further information: ayasofyamuzesi@mynet.com
    Phone: +90 -212- 522 1750, 522 0989

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