ONCE A CHURCH, LATER A MOSQUE.
Masterpiece Of The History Of Architecture
The Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque/Ayasofya-i Kebir Cami-i Şerifi, with its innovative architecture, rich history, religious significance and extraordinary characteristics has been fighting against time for centuries, is the largest Eastern Roman Church in Istanbul. Constructed three times in the same location, it is the world’s oldest and fastest-completed cathedral. With its breathtaking domes that look like hanging in the air, monolithic marble columns and unparalleled mosaics, is one of the wonders of world’s architecture history.
It continued to exist as a mosque during the Ottoman Period
Today’s Hagia Sophia is the third building constructed in the same place with a different architectural understanding than its predecessors. By the order of Emperor Justinianos, it was built by Anthemios from Tralles (Aydin) and Isidoros from Miletos (Balat). The construction started in 532 and was completed in a period of five years and opened for worship in 537 with great ceremony. When Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror conquered the city, he converted it into his imperial mosque. It continued its existence with the addition of Ottoman architectural elements and turned into a museum in 1935. Known for its Imperial Gate, Beautiful Gate (Splendid Door) and Marble Gate, Hagia Sophia has 104 columns, some of which are brought from ancient cities. The “Omphalion” section where the emperors were crowned stands out with marble workmanship like these pillars.
Hagia Sophia, officially the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque and formerly the Church of Hagia Sophia, is a Late Antique place of worship in Istanbul. Built in 537 as the patriarchal cathedral of the imperial capital of Constantinople, it was the largest Christian church of the eastern Roman Empire (the Byzantine Empire) and the Eastern Orthodox Church, except during the Latin Empire from 1204 to 1261, when it became the city’s Roman Catholic cathedral. In 1453, after the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire, it was converted into a mosque. In 1935 the secular Turkish Republic established it as a museum. In 2020, it re-opened as a mosque.
Built by the eastern Roman emperor Justinian I as the Christian cathedral of Constantinople for the state church of the Roman Empire between 532 and 537, the church was then the world’s largest interior space and among the first to employ a fully pendentive dome. It is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have “changed the history of architecture”. The building was designed by the Greek geometers Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles. The present Justinianic building was the third church of the same name to occupy the site, the prior one having been destroyed in the Nika riots. Being the episcopal see of the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, it remained the world’s largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520.