The Hagia Sophia
The Hagia Sophia is a domed Byzantine church located in present day Istanbul. The Hagia Sophia was a site of great history and architectural achievements in the Byzantine Empire. Meaning “Holy Wisdom” in Greek the Hagia Sophia was included vast architectural innovations. A great symbol of Christianity it demonstrated power over other religions and political alliance. It became a symbol of dominance of Islam and Christianity to the world. Hagia Sophia became a Museum to both Christians and Muslims. Originally built by Constantine the Great Hagia Sophia was an outstanding figure of Christianity to the world. Constantine wanted to make Constantinople the New Rome with objects such as the Hagia Sophia. But soon the Western and Eastern Church divided; a clear separation that still survives today. Constantine’s Church was destroyed. Constantinius and the Emperor Theodosius rebuilt the grand church. Constantinius’s church was raided and destroyed with fire during the Nika riots. Emperor Justinian then started to rebuild the Church giving us the present structure. The Hagia Sophia was one of the many great achievements of Emperor Justinian. With the conquest of Constantinople, the Hagia Sophia Church became a Mosque. The Hagia Sophia contains artifacts that honor Turkey’s vast and rich history that dates back to the time of Constantine. The architecture of the Hagia Sophia is also a major factor in its superiority and symbolism. They took the ideas of other ancient civilizations, such as Rome, and some of their own. They used arches and domes to construct the massive building. They also invented pendentives, triangular-shaped pieces at the base of the dome, to increase the strength of the structure. The interior of Hagia Sophia is paneled with mosaics made of colored marbles, glass and ornamental stones. Originally, the top of the building was decorated in gold with a cross at the tip of the dome. After it became a mosque, new mosaics, minarets and a...
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