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A Magnificent Work Of Art Standing For Centuries, Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia, one of the most visited museums in the world; one of the world’s leading monuments in terms of art and architecture history. It was described as the 8th wonder of the world by the Eastern Roman Philon in the 6th century.

The building, which was a church for 916 years, was turned into a mosque by Fatih Sultan Mehmed in 1453 with the conquest of Istanbul and was used as a mosque for 482 years. With the order of Atatürk and the decision of the Council of Ministers, it opened its doors to visitors as a museum in 1935. In 2020, with the decision of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it was converted into a mosque and opened to Muslims.

Image Credits : Radisson Blu

When Hagia Sophia was first built, it was called the Great Church (Megale Ekklesia). However, the Church was started to be called Sophia from the 5th century. Despite this, it continued to be called the Great Church by the people. After the conquest in 1453, the name of the church was changed to “Hagia Sophia”, which is still used today.

From the opinions about where the name of the building came from; The idea that he is dedicated to a saint named Sophia is wrong. The church was dedicated to Theia Sophia, the Holy Wisdom, the second element of the Christian trilogy. The word Hagia Sophia, from which it was named later, consists of the words Aya (sacred, saint) and Sophos (wisdom), meaning sacred / divine wisdom.

Image Credits : Radisson Blu

After the Christianity was accepted as a legitimate belief by Constantine I (324-337), the construction of large churches in different areas of the empire began. The first building of Hagia Sophia was built on the first hill (Sarayburnu) in the 4th century as a wooden basilica. Although this first building is generally attributed to Constantine I (324-337), the church was completed by his son Konstantios (337-361) and the opening ceremony of the first building of Hagia Sophia was held on 15 February 360.

This first building did not last long. The church was burned in the fire that broke out in the exile of the patriarch Ioannes Chrysostomos on 20 June 404 and the subsequent uprising. II. Theodosius (408-450) had the building rebuilt with five naves and the church reopened on October 10, 415.

Image Credits : Radisson Blu

The second church was burned down again in the Nika uprising in 532 on the night of January 13-14, against Iustinianus (527-565) and his wife. On top of that, the emperor commissioned Anthemios of Tralles and Isidoros of Miletus to build a church that was groundbreaking and larger than the old buildings, instead of restoring the church in accordance with its previous state. Prokopios (500-562?) Wrote that the reconstruction of the church began on 23 February. Hagia Sophia, which reached the present day, was also the structure that was rebuilt on this date. Construction of the building took until 537. It is known that Iustinianus was directly interested in the building. Hagia Sophia was opened on December 27, 537 with a big ceremony.

Image Credits : Radisson Blu

The most important innovation in the architecture of Hagia Sophia was that its dimensions were unusually large for a church, and the size and height of the dome dominating the central space. The dome that covers the main space is 55.60 meters high from the ground, and its diameter is 31.87 in the north-south direction. meters, and 30.86 meters in the east-west direction. While the Hagia Sophia was being built, marble, stone and brick were used by the architects in the construction of the building, and light and strong bricks were used specially produced from Rhodes soil to prevent the dome from collapsing easily in earthquakes.

Image Credits : Radisson Blu
Image Credits : Radisson Blu

Architects:

Although Agnadiyos is named as the chief architect of Hagia Sophia as a result of the studies carried out, it is not a definite and clear information.

Architect Rufinos is the architect of the second Hagia Sophia, built in 415.

Isidoros of Miletus And Trallesli Anthemius are the architects of Hagia Sophia, whose construction started in 532 and has survived until today.

Young Isidorus is the architect who repaired the Hagia Sophia, whose dome collapsed and was damaged in the 558 earthquake.

Armenian Architect Trdat is the architect who repaired the church that was damaged in the earthquake in 989.

Astras and Peralta are architects who restored the church in 1354 after the earthquake of 1344 and subsequent collapses in various parts of the building on May 19, 1346.

Mimar Sinan is the architect who has made the greatest contribution to reaching the present day of the Hagia Sophia Mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul in 1453.

The Swiss Fossati Brothers are the people who carried out the most extensive repair work during the Abdulmecid Period (1839-1861).

Written by Editor

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