Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

Overview
Hagia Sophia is a former Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 patriarchal
Patriarchate
A patriarchate is the office or jurisdiction of a patriarch. A patriarch, as the term is used here, is either* one of the highest-ranking bishops in Eastern Orthodoxy, earlier, the five that were included in the Pentarchy: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, but now nine,...

 basilica
Basilica
The Latin word basilica , was originally used to describe a Roman public building, usually located in the forum of a Roman town. Public basilicas began to appear in Hellenistic cities in the 2nd century BC.The term was also applied to buildings used for religious purposes...

, later a mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

, Turkey. From the date of its dedication in 360 until 1453, it served as the Greek Patriarchal cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

 of Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Patriarch of Constantinople
Latin Patriarch of Constantinople
The Latin Patriarch of Constantinople was an office established as a result of Crusader activity in the Near East. The title should not be confused with that of the Patriarch of Constantinople, an office which existed before and after....

 of the Western Crusader established Latin Empire
Latin Empire
The Latin Empire or Latin Empire of Constantinople is the name given by historians to the feudal Crusader state founded by the leaders of the Fourth Crusade on lands captured from the Byzantine Empire. It was established after the capture of Constantinople in 1204 and lasted until 1261...

. The building was a mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931, when it was secularized
Secularity
Secularity is the state of being separate from religion.For instance, eating and bathing may be regarded as examples of secular activities, because there may not be anything inherently religious about them...

. It was opened as a museum on 1 February 1935.

The Church was dedicated to the Logos, the second person of the Holy Trinity, its dedication
Consecrations in Eastern Christianity
Consecrations in Eastern Christianity can refer to either the Sacred Mystery of Cheirotonea of a Bishop, or the sanctification and solemn dedication of a church building. It can also be used to describe the change of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ at the Divine Liturgy...

 feast taking place on 25 December, the anniversary of the Birth of the incarnation
Incarnation (Christianity)
The Incarnation in traditional Christianity is the belief that Jesus Christ the second person of the Trinity, also known as God the Son or the Logos , "became flesh" by being conceived in the womb of a woman, the Virgin Mary, also known as the Theotokos .The Incarnation is a fundamental theological...

 of the Logos in Christ.
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Encyclopedia
Hagia Sophia is a former Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 patriarchal
Patriarchate
A patriarchate is the office or jurisdiction of a patriarch. A patriarch, as the term is used here, is either* one of the highest-ranking bishops in Eastern Orthodoxy, earlier, the five that were included in the Pentarchy: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, but now nine,...

 basilica
Basilica
The Latin word basilica , was originally used to describe a Roman public building, usually located in the forum of a Roman town. Public basilicas began to appear in Hellenistic cities in the 2nd century BC.The term was also applied to buildings used for religious purposes...

, later a mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

, Turkey. From the date of its dedication in 360 until 1453, it served as the Greek Patriarchal cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

 of Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Patriarch of Constantinople
Latin Patriarch of Constantinople
The Latin Patriarch of Constantinople was an office established as a result of Crusader activity in the Near East. The title should not be confused with that of the Patriarch of Constantinople, an office which existed before and after....

 of the Western Crusader established Latin Empire
Latin Empire
The Latin Empire or Latin Empire of Constantinople is the name given by historians to the feudal Crusader state founded by the leaders of the Fourth Crusade on lands captured from the Byzantine Empire. It was established after the capture of Constantinople in 1204 and lasted until 1261...

. The building was a mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931, when it was secularized
Secularity
Secularity is the state of being separate from religion.For instance, eating and bathing may be regarded as examples of secular activities, because there may not be anything inherently religious about them...

. It was opened as a museum on 1 February 1935.

The Church was dedicated to the Logos, the second person of the Holy Trinity, its dedication
Consecrations in Eastern Christianity
Consecrations in Eastern Christianity can refer to either the Sacred Mystery of Cheirotonea of a Bishop, or the sanctification and solemn dedication of a church building. It can also be used to describe the change of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ at the Divine Liturgy...

 feast taking place on 25 December, the anniversary of the Birth of the incarnation
Incarnation (Christianity)
The Incarnation in traditional Christianity is the belief that Jesus Christ the second person of the Trinity, also known as God the Son or the Logos , "became flesh" by being conceived in the womb of a woman, the Virgin Mary, also known as the Theotokos .The Incarnation is a fundamental theological...

 of the Logos in Christ. Although it is sometimes referred to as Sancta Sophia (as though it were named after Saint Sophia
Sophia the Martyr
Saint Sophia the Martyr is venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church on September 17. Born in Italy, Sophia had three daughters: Faith , Love and Hope , who were named after virtues mentioned by Saint Paul in .They are said to have been martyred during the reign of Hadrian...

), sophia is the phonetic spelling in Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 of the Greek word for wisdom – the full name in Greek being , "Church of the Holy Wisdom of God".

Famous in particular for its massive dome
Dome
A dome is a structural element of architecture that resembles the hollow upper half of a sphere. Dome structures made of various materials have a long architectural lineage extending into prehistory....

, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture
Byzantine architecture
Byzantine architecture is the architecture of the Byzantine Empire. The empire gradually emerged as a distinct artistic and cultural entity from what is today referred to as the Roman Empire after AD 330, when the Roman Emperor Constantine moved the capital of the Roman Empire east from Rome to...

 and is said to have "changed the history of architecture." It was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral
Seville Cathedral
The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See , better known as Seville Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Seville . It is the largest Gothic cathedral and the third-largest church in the world....

 was completed in 1520.
The current building was originally constructed as a church between 532 and 537 on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 Justinian and was the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site, the previous two having both been destroyed by rioters. It was designed by the Greek scientists Isidore of Miletus
Isidore of Miletus
Isidore of Miletus was one of the two main Byzantine architects that Emperor Justinian I commissioned to design the church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople from 532-537A.D.-Summary:...

, a physicist, and Anthemius of Tralles
Anthemius of Tralles
Anthemius of Tralles was a Greek professor of Geometry in Constantinople and architect, who collaborated with Isidore of Miletus to build the church of Hagia Sophia by the order of Justinian I. Anthemius came from an educated family, one of five sons of Stephanus of Tralles, a physician...

, a mathematician.

The church contained a large collection of holy relics
Relic
In religion, a relic is a part of the body of a saint or a venerated person, or else another type of ancient religious object, carefully preserved for purposes of veneration or as a tangible memorial...

 and featured, among other things, a 49 foot (15 m) silver iconostasis
Iconostasis
In Eastern Christianity an iconostasis is a wall of icons and religious paintings, separating the nave from the sanctuary in a church. Iconostasis also refers to a portable icon stand that can be placed anywhere within a church...

. It was the seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople and the religious focal point of the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 for nearly one thousand years. It is the church in which Cardinal Humbert in 1054 excommunicated
Excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

 Michael I Cerularius
Michael I Cerularius
Michael I Cerularius , also known as Michael Keroularios or Patriarch Michael I, was the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from 1043 to 1059.-Biography:...

 – which is commonly considered the start of the Great Schism
East-West Schism
The East–West Schism of 1054, sometimes known as the Great Schism, formally divided the State church of the Roman Empire into Eastern and Western branches, which later became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, respectively...

.

In 1453, Constantinople was conquered
Fall of Constantinople
The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI...

 by the Ottoman Turks
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 under Sultan Mehmed II
Mehmed II
Mehmed II , was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire for a short time from 1444 to September 1446, and later from...

, who subsequently ordered the building converted into a mosque. The bells, altar, iconostasis, and sacrificial vessels were removed and many of the mosaic
Mosaic
Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration, or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral...

s were plastered over. Islamic features
Islamic architecture
Islamic architecture encompasses a wide range of both secular and religious styles from the foundation of Islam to the present day, influencing the design and construction of buildings and structures in Islamic culture....

 – such as the mihrab
Mihrab
A mihrab is semicircular niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the qibla; that is, the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca and hence the direction that Muslims should face when praying...

, minbar
Minbar
A minbar is a pulpit in the mosque where the imam stands to deliver sermons or in the Hussainia where the speaker sits and lectures the congregation...

, and four minaret
Minaret
A minaret مناره , sometimes مئذنه) is a distinctive architectural feature of Islamic mosques, generally a tall spire with an onion-shaped or conical crown, usually either free standing or taller than any associated support structure. The basic form of a minaret includes a base, shaft, and gallery....

s – were added while in the possession of the Ottomans. It remained a mosque until 1931 when it was closed to the public for four years. It was re-opened in 1935 as a museum by the Republic of Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

.

For almost 500 years the principal mosque of Istanbul, Hagia Sophia served as a model for many other Ottoman mosques, such as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque of Istanbul), the Şehzade Mosque
Sehzade Mosque
The Şehzade Mosque is an Ottoman imperial mosque located in the district of Fatih, on the third hill of Istanbul, Turkey. It is sometimes referred to as the “Prince's Mosque” in English.-History:...

, the Süleymaniye Mosque, the Rüstem Pasha Mosque
Rüstem Pasha Mosque
-External links:* ** *...

 and the Kılıç Ali Paşa Mosque.

First church


The first church was known as the (Megálē Ekklēsíā, "Great Church"), or in Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 "Magna Ecclesia", because of its larger dimensions in comparison to the contemporary churches in the City. Inaugurated on 15 February 360 (during the reign of Constantius II
Constantius II
Constantius II , was Roman Emperor from 337 to 361. The second son of Constantine I and Fausta, he ascended to the throne with his brothers Constantine II and Constans upon their father's death....

) by the Arian
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

 bishop Eudoxius of Antioch
Eudoxius of Antioch
Eudoxius was the eighth bishop of Constantinople from January 27, 360 to 370, previously bishop of Germanicia and of Antioch, and was one of the most influential Arians.-Biography:...

, it was built next to the area where the imperial palace was being developed. The nearby Hagia Eirene
Hagia Irene
Hagia Irene or Hagia Eirene , often erroneously rendered in English as St Irene, is a former Eastern Orthodox church located in the outer courtyard of Topkapı Palace in Istanbul, Turkey. It is open as a museum every day except Monday but requires special permission for admission.-Church:The...

 ("Holy Peace") church was completed earlier and served as cathedral until the Hagia Sophia was completed. Both churches acted together as the principal churches of the Byzantine Empire.

Writing in 440, Socrates of Constantinople claimed that the church was built by Constantius II, who was working on it in 346. A tradition which is not older than the 7th – 8th century, reports that the edifice was built by Constantine the Great
Constantine I
Constantine the Great , also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all...

. Zonaras reconciles the two opinions, writing that Constantius had repaired the edifice consecrated by Eusebius of Nicomedia
Eusebius of Nicomedia
Eusebius of Nicomedia was the man who baptised Constantine. He was a bishop of Berytus in Phoenicia, then of Nicomedia where the imperial court resided in Bithynia, and finally of Constantinople from 338 up to his death....

, after it had collapsed. Since Eusebius was bishop of Constantinople from 339 to 341, and Constantine died in 337, it seems possible that the first church was erected by the latter. The edifice was built as a traditional Latin colonnaded basilica with galleries and a wooden roof. It was preceded by an atrium
Atrium (architecture)
In modern architecture, an atrium is a large open space, often several stories high and having a glazed roof and/or large windows, often situated within a larger multistory building and often located immediately beyond the main entrance doors...

. It was claimed to be one of the world's most outstanding monuments at the time.

The Patriarch of Constantinople John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom , Archbishop of Constantinople, was an important Early Church Father. He is known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and his ascetic...

 came into a conflict with Empress Aelia Eudoxia
Aelia Eudoxia
Aelia Eudoxia was the Empress consort of the Byzantine Emperor Arcadius.-Family:She was a daughter of Flavius Bauto, a Romanised Frank who served as magister militum in the Western Roman army during the 380s. The identity of her father is mentioned by Philostorgius...

, wife of the emperor Arcadius
Arcadius
Arcadius was the Byzantine Emperor from 395 to his death. He was the eldest son of Theodosius I and his first wife Aelia Flaccilla, and brother of the Western Emperor Honorius...

, and was sent into exile on 20 June 404. During the subsequent riots, this first church was largely burned down. Nothing remains of the first church today.

Second church




A second church was ordered by Theodosius II
Theodosius II
Theodosius II , commonly surnamed Theodosius the Younger, or Theodosius the Calligrapher, was Byzantine Emperor from 408 to 450. He is mostly known for promulgating the Theodosian law code, and for the construction of the Theodosian Walls of Constantinople...

, who inaugurated it on 10 October 415. The basilica with a wooden roof was built by architect Rufinus. A fire started during the tumult of the Nika Revolt
Nika riots
The Nika riots , or Nika revolt, took place over the course of a week in Constantinople in AD 532. It was the most violent riot that Constantinople had ever seen to that point, with nearly half the city being burned or destroyed and tens of thousands of people killed.-Background:The ancient Roman...

 and burned the second Hagia Sophia to the ground on 13–14 January 532

Several marble blocks from the second church survive to the present; among them are relief
Relief
Relief is a sculptural technique. The term relief is from the Latin verb levo, to raise. To create a sculpture in relief is thus to give the impression that the sculpted material has been raised above the background plane...

s depicting 12 lambs representing the 12 apostles. Originally part of a monumental front entrance, they now reside in an excavation pit adjacent to the museum's entrance. Discovered in 1935 beneath the western courtyard by A. M. Schneider, further digging was forsaken for fear of impinging on the integrity of the Hagia Sophia.

Third church (current structure)


On 23 February 532, only a few days after the destruction of the second basilica, Emperor Justinian I
Justinian I
Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

 elected to build a third and entirely different basilica, larger and more majestic than its predecessors.

Justinian chose physicist Isidore of Miletus
Isidore of Miletus
Isidore of Miletus was one of the two main Byzantine architects that Emperor Justinian I commissioned to design the church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople from 532-537A.D.-Summary:...

 and mathematician Anthemius of Tralles
Anthemius of Tralles
Anthemius of Tralles was a Greek professor of Geometry in Constantinople and architect, who collaborated with Isidore of Miletus to build the church of Hagia Sophia by the order of Justinian I. Anthemius came from an educated family, one of five sons of Stephanus of Tralles, a physician...

 as architects; Anthemius, however, died within the first year of the endeavor. The construction is described in the Byzantine historian Procopius
Procopius
Procopius of Caesarea was a prominent Byzantine scholar from Palestine. Accompanying the general Belisarius in the wars of the Emperor Justinian I, he became the principal historian of the 6th century, writing the Wars of Justinian, the Buildings of Justinian and the celebrated Secret History...

' On Buildings (Peri ktismatōn, Latin: De aedificiis). The emperor had material brought from all over the empire – such as Hellenistic columns from the Temple of Artemis
Temple of Artemis
The Temple of Artemis , also known less precisely as the Temple of Diana, was a Greek temple dedicated to a goddess Greeks identified as Artemis and was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was situated at Ephesus , and was completely rebuilt three times before its eventual destruction...

 at Ephesus
Ephesus
Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era...

, large stones from quarries in porphyry
Porphyry (geology)
Porphyry is a variety of igneous rock consisting of large-grained crystals, such as feldspar or quartz, dispersed in a fine-grained feldspathic matrix or groundmass. The larger crystals are called phenocrysts...

 from Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, green marble from Thessaly
Thessaly
Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

, black stone from the Bosporus
Bosporus
The Bosphorus or Bosporus , also known as the Istanbul Strait , is a strait that forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia. It is one of the Turkish Straits, along with the Dardanelles...

 region, and yellow stone from Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

. More than ten thousand people were employed. This new church was contemporaneously recognized as a major work of architecture. The theories of Heron of Alexandria
Hero of Alexandria
Hero of Alexandria was an ancient Greek mathematician and engineerEnc. Britannica 2007, "Heron of Alexandria" who was active in his native city of Alexandria, Roman Egypt...

 may have been utilized to address the challenges presented by building such an expansive dome over so large a space. The emperor, together with the patriarch Eutychius, inaugurated the new basilica on 27 December 537 with much pomp. The mosaics inside the church were, however, only completed under the reign of Emperor Justin II
Justin II
Justin II was Byzantine Emperor from 565 to 578. He was the husband of Sophia, nephew of Justinian I and the late Empress Theodora, and was therefore a member of the Justinian Dynasty. His reign is marked by war with Persia and the loss of the greater part of Italy...

 (565–578).

Hagia Sophia was the seat of the Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople and a principal setting for Byzantine imperial ceremonies, such as coronations. The basilica also offered asylum to wrongdoers.

Earthquakes in August 553 and on 14 December 557
557 Constantinople earthquake
The 557 Constantinople earthquake occurred at night on 14 December. This great earthquake caused much damage to Constantinople. The event is described by Agathias, John Malalas and Theophanes the Confessor. - Prior events :...

 caused cracks in the main dome and eastern half-dome. The main dome collapsed completely during a subsequent earthquake on 7 May 558, destroying the ambon
Ambon (liturgy)
The Ambon or Ambo is a projection coming out from the soleas in an Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic church. The ambon stands directly in front of the Holy Doors...

, altar, and ciborium
Ciborium (architecture)
In ecclesiastical architecture, a ciborium is a canopy or covering supported by columns, freestanding in the sanctuary, that stands over and covers the altar in a basilica or other church. It may also be known by the more general term of baldachin, though ciborium is often considered more correct...

. The crash was due mainly to the too high bearing load and to the enormous shearing load of the dome, which was too flat. These caused the deformation of the piers which sustained the dome. The emperor ordered an immediate restoration. He entrusted it to Isidorus the Younger, nephew of Isidore of Miletus, who used lighter materials and elevated the dome by "30 feet" (about 6.25 metres (20.5 ft)) – giving the building its current interior height of 55.6 metres (182.4 ft). Moreover, Isidorus changed the dome type, erecting a ribbed dome with pendentives, whose diameter lay between 32.7 and 33.5 m. This reconstruction, giving the church its present 6th-century form, was completed in 562. The Byzantine poet Paul the Silentiary
Paul the Silentiary
Paul the Silentiary, also known as Paulus Silentiarius , was an epigrammatist and an officer in the imperial household of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I, responsible for the silence in the imperial palace....

 composed a long epic poem (still extant), known as Ekphrasis
Ecphrasis
Ekphrasis or ecphrasis is the graphic, often dramatic, description of a visual work of art. In ancient times it referred to a description of any thing, person, or experience...

, for the rededication of the basilica presided over by Patriarch Eutychius
Patriarch Eutychius of Constantinople
Eutychius , considered a saint in the Catholic and Orthodox Christian traditions, was the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from 552 to 565, and from 577 to 582. His feast is kept by the Byzantine Church on 6 April, and he is mentioned in the Catholic Church's "Corpus Iuris"...

 on 23 December 562.

In 726, the emperor Leo the Isaurian
Leo III the Isaurian
Leo III the Isaurian or the Syrian , was Byzantine emperor from 717 until his death in 741...

 issued a series of edicts against the veneration of images, ordering the army to destroy all icons – ushering in the period of Byzantine iconoclasm. At that time, all religious pictures and statues were removed from the Hagia Sophia. After a brief reprieve under Empress Irene
Irene (empress)
Irene Sarantapechaina , known as Irene of Athens or Irene the Athenian was a Byzantine empress regnant from 797 to 802, having previously been empress consort from 775 to 780, and empress dowager and regent from 780 to 797. It is often claimed she called herself "basileus" , 'emperor'...

 (797–802), the iconoclasts made a comeback. Emperor Theophilus
Theophilos (emperor)
Theophilos was the Byzantine emperor from 829 until his death in 842. He was the second emperor of the Phrygian dynasty, and the last emperor supporting iconoclasm...

 (829–842) was strongly influenced by Islamic art
Islamic art
Islamic art encompasses the visual arts produced from the 7th century onwards by people who lived within the territory that was inhabited by or ruled by culturally Islamic populations...

, which forbids graven images. He had a two-winged bronze door with his monogram
Monogram
A monogram is a motif made by overlapping or combining two or more letters or other graphemes to form one symbol. Monograms are often made by combining the initials of an individual or a company, used as recognizable symbols or logos. A series of uncombined initials is properly referred to as a...

s installed at the southern entrance of the church.

The basilica suffered damage, first in a great fire in 859, and again in an earthquake on 8 January 869, that made a half-dome collapse. Emperor Basil I
Basil I
Basil I, called the Macedonian was a Byzantine emperor of probable Armenian descent who reigned from 867 to 886. Born a simple peasant in the Byzantine theme of Macedonia, he rose in the imperial court, and usurped the imperial throne from Emperor Michael III...

 ordered the church repaired.

After the great earthquake of 25 October 989, which ruined the great dome, the Byzantine emperor Basil II
Basil II
Basil II , known in his time as Basil the Porphyrogenitus and Basil the Young to distinguish him from his ancestor Basil I the Macedonian, was a Byzantine emperor from the Macedonian dynasty who reigned from 10 January 976 to 15 December 1025.The first part of his long reign was dominated...

 asked for the Armenian architect Trdat
Trdat the Architect
Trdat the Architect was the chief architect of the Bagratuni kings of Armenia, whose 10th century monuments have been argued to be the forerunners of Gothic architecture which came to Europe several centuries later....

, creator of the great churches of Ani
Ani
Ani is a ruined and uninhabited medieval Armenian city-site situated in the Turkish province of Kars, near the border with Armenia. It was once the capital of a medieval Armenian kingdom that covered much of present day Armenia and eastern Turkey...

 and Argina, to repair the dome. His main repairs were to the western arch and a portion of the dome. The extent of the damage required six years of repair and reconstruction; the church was re-opened on 13 May 994.

In his book De caerimoniis aulae Byzantinae
De Ceremoniis
De Ceremoniis is the Latin title of a description of ceremonial protocol at the court of the Eastern Roman emperor in Constantinople. It is sometimes called De ceremoniis aulae byzantinae...

 ("Book of Ceremonies"), Emperor Constantine VII
Constantine VII
Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos or Porphyrogenitus, "the Purple-born" was the fourth Emperor of the Macedonian dynasty of the Byzantine Empire, reigning from 913 to 959...

 (913–919) wrote a detailed account of the ceremonies held in the Hagia Sophia by the emperor and the patriarch.

Upon the capture of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade
Fourth Crusade
The Fourth Crusade was originally intended to conquer Muslim-controlled Jerusalem by means of an invasion through Egypt. Instead, in April 1204, the Crusaders of Western Europe invaded and conquered the Christian city of Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire...

, the church was ransacked and desecrated by the Latin Christians. The Byzantine historian Niketas Choniates described the capture of Constantinople; many reputed relics from the church – such as a stone from the tomb of Jesus, the Virgin Mary
Mary (mother of Jesus)
Mary , commonly referred to as "Saint Mary", "Mother Mary", the "Virgin Mary", the "Blessed Virgin Mary", or "Mary, Mother of God", was a Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee...

's milk, the shroud of Jesus, and bones of several saints – were sent to churches in the West and can be seen there now in various museums. During the Latin occupation of Constantinople
Latin Empire
The Latin Empire or Latin Empire of Constantinople is the name given by historians to the feudal Crusader state founded by the leaders of the Fourth Crusade on lands captured from the Byzantine Empire. It was established after the capture of Constantinople in 1204 and lasted until 1261...

 (1204–1261) the church became a Roman Catholic cathedral. Baldwin I of Constantinople
Baldwin I of Constantinople
Baldwin I , the first emperor of the Latin Empire of Constantinople, as Baldwin IX Count of Flanders and as Baldwin VI Count of Hainaut, was one of the most prominent leaders of the Fourth Crusade, which resulted in the capture of Constantinople, the conquest of the greater part of the Byzantine...

 was crowned emperor on 16 May 1204 in Hagia Sophia, at a ceremony which closely followed Byzantine practices. Enrico Dandolo
Enrico Dandolo
Enrico Dandolo — anglicised as Henry Dandolo and Latinized as Henricus Dandulus — was the 41st Doge of Venice from 1195 until his death...

, the Doge
Doge of Venice
The Doge of Venice , often mistranslated Duke was the chief magistrate and leader of the Most Serene Republic of Venice for over a thousand years. Doges of Venice were elected for life by the city-state's aristocracy. Commonly the person selected as Doge was the shrewdest elder in the city...

 of Venice
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

 who commanded the sack and invasion of the city by the Latin Crusaders in 1204, is buried inside the church. The tomb inscription carrying his name, which has become a part of the floor decoration, was spat upon by many of the angry Byzantines who recaptured Constantinople in 1261. However, restoration led by the brothers Gaspare and Giuseppe Fossati during the period 1847–1849 cast doubt upon the authenticity of the doge's grave; it is more likely a symbolic memorial rather than burial site.

After the recapture in 1261 by the Byzantines, the church was in a dilapidated state. In 1317, emperor Andronicus II
Andronikos II Palaiologos
Andronikos II Palaiologos , Latinized as Andronicus II Palaeologus, was Byzantine emperor from 1282 to 1328. He was the eldest surviving son of Michael VIII Palaiologos and Theodora Doukaina Vatatzina, grandniece of John III Doukas Vatatzes...

 ordered four new buttresses (Πυραμὶδας, Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

:"Piramídas") to be built in the eastern and northern parts of the church, financing them with the inheritance of his deceased wife, Irene. New cracks developed in the dome after the earthquake of October 1344, and several parts of the building collapsed on 19 May 1346; consequently, the church was closed until 1354, when repairs were undertaken by architects Astras and Peralta.

Mosque (1453–1935)


In 1453 Sultan Mehmed laid siege to Constantinople, driven in part by a desire to convert the city to Islam.
The Sultan promised his troops three days of unbridled pillage if the city fell, after which he would claim its contents himself.
Hagia Sophia was not exempted from the pillage, becoming its focal point as the invaders believed it to contain the greatest treasures of the city.
Shortly after the city’s defenses collapsed, pillagers made their way to the Hagia Sophia and battered down its doors. Throughout the siege the Holy Liturgy and Prayer of the Hours were celebrated at the Hagia Sophia, and the church formed a refuge for many of those who were unable to contribute to the city’s defense. Trapped in the church, congregants and refugees became booty to be divided amongst the invaders. The building was desecrated and looted, and occupants enslaved or slaughtered; a few of the elderly and infirm were killed, and the remainder chained. Priests continued to perform Christian rites until stopped by the invaders. When the Sultan and his cohort entered the church he insisted it should be at once transformed into a mosque. One of the Ulama
Ulama
-In Islam:* Ulema, also transliterated "ulama", a community of legal scholars of Islam and its laws . See:**Nahdlatul Ulama **Darul-uloom Nadwatul Ulama **Jamiatul Ulama Transvaal**Jamiat ul-Ulama -Other:...

 then climbed the pulpit and recited the Shahada
Shahada
The Shahada , means "to know and believe without suspicion, as if witnessed"/testification; it is the name of the Islamic creed. The shahada is the Muslim declaration of belief in the oneness of God and acceptance of Muhammad as God's prophet...

.



As written above, immediately after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, Mehmed II converted Hagia Sophia into the Aya Sofya Mosque. As described by several Western visitors (such as the Córdoban
Córdoba, Spain
-History:The first trace of human presence in the area are remains of a Neanderthal Man, dating to c. 32,000 BC. In the 8th century BC, during the ancient Tartessos period, a pre-urban settlement existed. The population gradually learned copper and silver metallurgy...

 nobleman Pero Tafur and the Florentine
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 Cristoforo Buondelmonti
Cristoforo Buondelmonti
Cristoforo Buondelmonti was an Italian monk and traveler, and a pioneer in promoting first-hand knowledge of Greece and its antiquities throughout the Western world....

), the church was in a dilapidated state, with several of its doors off; sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

 Mehmed II
Mehmed II
Mehmed II , was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire for a short time from 1444 to September 1446, and later from...

 ordered the cleanup of the church and its conversion. He attended the first Friday prayer in the mosque on 1 June 1453. Aya Sofya became the first imperial mosque of Istanbul. To the corresponding Waqf
Waqf
A waqf also spelled wakf formally known as wakf-alal-aulad is an inalienable religious endowment in Islamic law, typically denoting a building or plot of land for Muslim religious or charitable purposes. The donated assets are held by a charitable trust...

 were endowed most of the existing houses in the city and the area of the future Topkapi Palace
Topkapi Palace
The Topkapı Palace is a large palace in Istanbul, Turkey, that was the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years of their 624-year reign....

. Through the imperial charters of 1520 / 926H and 1547 / 954 H shops and parts of the Grand Bazaar
Grand Bazaar, Istanbul
The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with more than 58 covered streets and over 4,000 shops which attract between 250,000 and half a million visitors daily.- History :...

 and other markets were added to the foundation.
Before 1481 a small minaret
Minaret
A minaret مناره , sometimes مئذنه) is a distinctive architectural feature of Islamic mosques, generally a tall spire with an onion-shaped or conical crown, usually either free standing or taller than any associated support structure. The basic form of a minaret includes a base, shaft, and gallery....

 was erected on the SW corner of the building, above the stair tower. Later, the subsequent sultan, Bayezid II
Bayezid II
Bayezid II or Sultân Bayezid-î Velî was the oldest son and successor of Mehmed II, ruling as Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1481 to 1512...

 (1481–1512), built another minaret at the NE corner. One of these crashed because of the earthquake
1509 Istanbul earthquake
The 1509 Istanbul earthquake, referred to as "The Lesser Judgment Day" by contemporaries, was an earthquake that occurred in the Sea of Marmara on September 10, 1509 at about 10 p.m.. The earthquake had an estimated magnitude of 7.2 ± 0.3 on the surface wave magnitude scale. Forty-five days of...

 of 1509, and around the middle of the 16th century they were both replaced by two diagonally opposite minarets built at the E and W corners of the edifice.

In the 16th century the sultan Suleiman the Magnificent
Suleiman the Magnificent
Suleiman I was the tenth and longest-reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, from 1520 to his death in 1566. He is known in the West as Suleiman the Magnificent and in the East, as "The Lawgiver" , for his complete reconstruction of the Ottoman legal system...

 (1520–1566) brought back two colossal candles from his conquest of Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

.
They were placed on both sides of the mihrab
Mihrab
A mihrab is semicircular niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the qibla; that is, the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca and hence the direction that Muslims should face when praying...

. During the reign of Selim II
Selim II
Selim II Sarkhosh Hashoink , also known as "Selim the Sot " or "Selim the Drunkard"; and as "Sarı Selim" or "Selim the Blond", was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1566 until his death in 1574.-Early years:He was born in Constantinople a son of Suleiman the...

 (1566–1577), the building started showing signs of fatigue and was extensively strengthened with the addition of structural supports to its exterior by the great Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, who is also considered one of the world's first earthquake engineers. In addition to strengthening the historic Byzantine structure, Sinan built the two additional large minarets at the western end of the building, the original sultan's loge, and the Türbe
Turbe
Türbe is the Turkish word for "tomb", and for the characteristic mausoleums, often relatively small, of Ottoman royalty and notables. It is related to the Arabic turba, which can also mean a mausoleum, but more often a funerary complex, or a plot in a cemetery.-Characteristics:A typical türbe...

 (mausoleum) of Selim II to the southeast of the building in 1576-7 / 984 H. In order to do that, one year before parts of the Patriarchate at the S corner of the building were pulled down. Moreover, the golden crescent was mounted on the top of the dome, while a respect zone 35 arşin
Traditional Turkish units of measurement
The list of traditional Turkish units of measurement, aka Ottoman units of measurement, is given below.- History :The Ottoman Empire , the predecessor of modern Turkey was one of the 17 signatories of the Metre Convention in 1875...

( about 24 m) wide was imposed around the building, pulling down all the houses which in the meantime had nested around it. Later his türbe hosted also 43 tombs of Ottoman princes. In 1594 / 1004 H Mimar (court architect) Davud Ağa built the türbe of Murad III
Murad III
Murad III was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1574 until his death.-Biography:...

 (1574–1595), where the Sultan and his Valide, Safiye Sultan
Safiye Sultan
Safiyā Valida Sultânā, , née Sofia Baffo, , was the consort of Ottoman Sultan Murad III, the Valida Sultânā and de facto co-regent to her son, Ottoman Sultan Mehmed III.- Biography :She was of Venetian descent...

 were later buried. The octagonal mausoleum of their son Mehmed III
Mehmed III
Mehmed III Adli was sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1595 until his death.-Biography:...

 (1595–1603) und his Valide was built next to it in 1608 / 1017 H by royal architect Dalgiç Mehmet Aĝa. His Son Mustafa I
Mustafa I
Mustafa I Deli , son of Mehmed III, was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1617 to 1618 and from 1622 to 1623. His mother was Valide Sultan Handan Sultan, an ethnic Greek originally named Helena....

 (1617–1618; 1622–1623) let convert the Baptistery into his Türbe.

Later additions were the sultan's gallery, a minbar
Minbar
A minbar is a pulpit in the mosque where the imam stands to deliver sermons or in the Hussainia where the speaker sits and lectures the congregation...

 decorated with marble, a dais for a sermon and a loggia
Loggia
Loggia is the name given to an architectural feature, originally of Minoan design. They are often a gallery or corridor at ground level, sometimes higher, on the facade of a building and open to the air on one side, where it is supported by columns or pierced openings in the wall...

 for a muezzin
Muezzin
A muezzin , or muzim, is the chosen person at a mosque who leads the call to prayer at Friday services and the five daily times for prayer from one of the mosque's minarets; in most modern mosques, electronic amplification aids the muezzin in his task.The professional muezzin is chosen for his...

.

Murad III had also two large alabaster
Alabaster
Alabaster is a name applied to varieties of two distinct minerals, when used as a material: gypsum and calcite . The former is the alabaster of the present day; generally, the latter is the alabaster of the ancients...

 Hellenistic urns transported from Pergamon
Pergamon
Pergamon , or Pergamum, was an ancient Greek city in modern-day Turkey, in Mysia, today located from the Aegean Sea on a promontory on the north side of the river Caicus , that became the capital of the Kingdom of Pergamon during the Hellenistic period, under the Attalid dynasty, 281–133 BC...

 and placed on two sides of the nave.

In 1717, under Sultan Ahmed III
Ahmed III
Ahmed III was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and a son of Sultan Mehmed IV . His mother was Mâh-Pâre Ummatullah Râbi'a Gül-Nûş Valide Sultan, originally named Evmania Voria, who was an ethnic Greek. He was born at Hajioglupazari, in Dobruja...

 (1703–1730), the crumbling plaster of the interior was renovated, contributing indirectly to the preservation of many mosaics, which otherwise would have been destroyed by mosque workers. In fact, it was usual for them to sell mosaics stones – believed to be talisman
Talisman
Talisman have several meanings:*TalismanBooks and novels* The Talisman , a historical novel by Sir Walter Scott* The Talisman , a novel by Stephen King and Peter Straub...

s – to the visitors. Sultan Mahmud I
Mahmud I
Mahmud I , called the Hunchback was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1730 to 1754.-Biography:...

 ordered the restoration of the building in 1739 and added a medrese
Madrasah
Madrasah is the Arabic word for any type of educational institution, whether secular or religious...

(a Koranic school, now the library of the museum), an Imaret
Imaret
An imaret is one of a few names used to identify the Ottoman soup kitchens built throughout the Ottoman Empire from the 14th into the 19th century. These public kitchens were often part of a larger complex known as a Waqf, which could include hospices, mosques, caravanserais and colleges...

(soup kitchen for distribution to the poor) and a library, and in 1740 a Şadirvan
Sadirvan
Sadirvan is type of fountain that is usually built in the yard or entrance in front of mosques, caravanserais, khanqahs and madrasahs, with main purpose of providing water for drinking or ritual ablutions, but also as decorative visual or sound element....

(fountain for ritual ablutions), thus transforming it into a külliye
Külliye
Külliye, deriving from the Arabic word "kull" is a term which designates a complex of buildings, centered around a mosque and managed within a single institution, often based on a vakıf , and composed of a medrese, a darüşşifa, kitchens, bakery, hammam, other buildings for various benevolent...

, i.e. a social complex. At the same time a new sultan's gallery and a new mihrab were built inside.

The most famous restoration of the Aya Sofya was ordered by Sultan Abdülmecid
Abdülmecid I
Sultan Abdülmecid I, Abdul Mejid I, Abd-ul-Mejid I or Abd Al-Majid I Ghazi was the 31st Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and succeeded his father Mahmud II on July 2, 1839. His reign was notable for the rise of nationalist movements within the empire's territories...

 and completed by eight hundred workers between 1847 and 1849, under the supervision of the Swiss-Italian
Ticino
Canton Ticino or Ticino is the southernmost canton of Switzerland. Named after the Ticino river, it is the only canton in which Italian is the sole official language...

 architect brothers Gaspare and Giuseppe Fossati. The brothers consolidated the dome and vaults, straightened the columns, and revised the decoration of the exterior and the interior of the building. The mosaics in the upper gallery were cleaned. The old chandelier
Chandelier
A chandelier is a branched decorative ceiling-mounted light fixture with two or more arms bearing lights. Chandeliers are often ornate, containing dozens of lamps and complex arrays of glass or crystal prisms to illuminate a room with refracted light...

s were replaced by new pendant ones. New gigantic circular-framed disks or medallions were hung on columns. They were inscribed with the names of Allah
Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

, the Prophet
Prophets of Islam
Muslims identify the Prophets of Islam as those humans chosen by God and given revelation to deliver to mankind. Muslims believe that every prophet was given a belief to worship God and their respective followers believed it as well...

 Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

, the first four caliphs Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr was a senior companion and the father-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He ruled over the Rashidun Caliphate from 632-634 CE when he became the first Muslim Caliph following Muhammad's death...

, Umar
Umar
`Umar ibn al-Khattāb c. 2 November , was a leading companion and adviser to the Islamic prophet Muhammad who later became the second Muslim Caliph after Muhammad's death....

, Uthman and Ali
Ali
' |Ramaḍān]], 40 AH; approximately October 23, 598 or 600 or March 17, 599 – January 27, 661).His father's name was Abu Talib. Ali was also the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661, and was the first male convert to Islam...

, and the two grandchildren of Mohammed: Hassan
Hasan ibn Ali
Al-Hasan ibn ‘Alī ibn Abī Tālib ‎ is an important figure in Islam, the son of Fatimah the daughter of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and of the fourth Caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib. Hasan is a member of the Ahl al-Bayt and Ahl al-Kisa...

 and Hussain
Husayn ibn Ali
Hussein ibn ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib ‎ was the son of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib and Fātimah Zahrā...

, by the calligrapher Kazasker İzzed Effendi (1801–1877). In 1850 the architect Fossati built a new sultan's gallery in a Neo-Byzantine style
Neo-Byzantine architecture
The Byzantine Revival was an architectural revival movement, most frequently seen in religious, institutional and public buildings. It emerged in 1840s in Western Europe and peaked in the last quarter of 19th century in the Russian Empire; an isolated Neo-Byzantine school was active in Yugoslavia...

 connected to the royal pavilion behind the mosque. Outside the Aya Sofya, a timekeeper's building and a new madrasah
Madrasah
Madrasah is the Arabic word for any type of educational institution, whether secular or religious...

 were built. The minarets were altered so that they were of equal height. When the restoration was finished, the mosque was re-opened with ceremonial pomp on 13 July 1849.

Museum (1943–present)


In 1935, the first Turkish President and founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was an Ottoman and Turkish army officer, revolutionary statesman, writer, and the first President of Turkey. He is credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey....

, transformed the building into a museum. The carpets were removed and the marble floor decorations such as the Omphalion
Omphalion
Omphalion in Greek means "navel of the earth"; compare the omphalos of Delphi.-Hagia Sophia:"The Omphalion" is a group of circular marble slabs fitted into a design on the main floor of the Great Church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople .The Omphalion is located in front of the Ottoman muezzin lodge...

 appeared for the first time in centuries, while the white plaster covering many of the mosaics was removed. Nevertheless, the condition of the structure deteriorated, and the World Monuments Fund
World Monuments Fund
World Monuments Fund is a private, international, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of historic architecture and cultural heritage sites around the world through fieldwork, advocacy, grantmaking, education, and training....

 placed Hagia Sophia on 1996 World Monuments Watch, and again in 1998. The building's copper roof had cracked, causing water to leak down over the fragile frescoes and mosaics. Moisture entered from below as well. Rising ground water had raised the level of humidity within the monument, creating an unstable environment for stone and paint. With the help of financial services company American Express
American Express
American Express Company or AmEx, is an American multinational financial services corporation headquartered in Three World Financial Center, Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States. Founded in 1850, it is one of the 30 components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The company is best...

, WMF secured a series of grants from 1997 to 2002 for the restoration of the dome. The first stage of work involved the structural stabilization and repair of the cracked roof, which was undertaken with the participation of the Turkish Ministry of Culture
Ministry of Culture and Tourism (Turkey)
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism is a government ministry office of the Republic of Turkey, responsible for culture and tourism affairs in Turkey. As of 2008, it is headed by Ertuğrul Günay.- External links :***...

. The second phase, the preservation of the dome’s interior, afforded the opportunity to employ and train young Turkish conservators
Conservators
In certain areas of the England, Conservators are statutory bodies which manage areas of countryside for the use of the public.- Establishment, Role and Powers :...

 in the care of mosaics. By 2006, the WMF project was complete, though other areas of Hagia Sophia continue to require conservation.

Today, use of the complex as a place of worship (mosque or church) is strictly prohibited. However, in 2006, it was reported that the Turkish government allowed the allocation of a small room in the museum complex to be used as a prayer room for Christian and Muslim museum staff. The museum's hours are 9.30am to 4.30pm, Tuesday through Sunday; entry fee is 20 TL, or free with the use of a Museum Card.

Turkish fine arts photographer Ahmet Ertuğ
Ahmet Ertuğ
Ahmet Ertuğ is a fine art photographer and publisher based in Istanbul, Turkey.He was trained as an architect at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. He specializes in large format photography of architectural and archaeological edifices of theHellenistic, Roman,...

's close-up pictures of the restored mosaics can be viewed in the upper northern gallery of the Hagia Sophia in a permanent exhibition.

Architecture





Hagia Sophia is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture
Byzantine architecture
Byzantine architecture is the architecture of the Byzantine Empire. The empire gradually emerged as a distinct artistic and cultural entity from what is today referred to as the Roman Empire after AD 330, when the Roman Emperor Constantine moved the capital of the Roman Empire east from Rome to...

. Of great artistic value was its decorated interior with mosaic
Mosaic
Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration, or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral...

s and marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

 pillars and coverings. The temple itself was so richly and artistically decorated that Justinian proclaimed, "Solomon
Solomon
Solomon , according to the Book of Kings and the Book of Chronicles, a King of Israel and according to the Talmud one of the 48 prophets, is identified as the son of David, also called Jedidiah in 2 Samuel 12:25, and is described as the third king of the United Monarchy, and the final king before...

, I have outdone thee!" (Νενίκηκά σε Σολομών). Justinian himself had overseen the completion of the greatest cathedral ever built up to that time, and it was to remain the largest cathedral for 1,000 years up until the completion of the cathedral in Seville
Seville Cathedral
The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See , better known as Seville Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Seville . It is the largest Gothic cathedral and the third-largest church in the world....

 in Spain.

Justinian's basilica was at once the culminating architectural achievement of late antiquity
Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages, in both mainland Europe and the Mediterranean world. Precise boundaries for the period are a matter of debate, but noted historian of the period Peter Brown proposed...

 and the first masterpiece of Byzantine architecture. Its influence, both architecturally and liturgically, was widespread and enduring in the Eastern Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

, Roman Catholic, and Muslim worlds alike. The largest columns are of granite, about 19 or 20 metres high and at least 1.5 metres in diameter; the largest weigh well over 70 tons apiece. Under Justinian's orders, eight Corinthian columns
Corinthian order
The Corinthian order is one of the three principal classical orders of ancient Greek and Roman architecture. The other two are the Doric and Ionic. When classical architecture was revived during the Renaissance, two more orders were added to the canon, the Tuscan order and the Composite order...

 were disassembled from Baalbek
Baalbek
Baalbek is a town in the Beqaa Valley of Lebanon, altitude , situated east of the Litani River. It is famous for its exquisitely detailed yet monumentally scaled temple ruins of the Roman period, when Baalbek, then known as Heliopolis, was one of the largest sanctuaries in the Empire...

, Lebanon and shipped to Constantinople for the construction of Hagia Sophia.

The vast interior has a complex structure. The nave
Nave
In Romanesque and Gothic Christian abbey, cathedral basilica and church architecture, the nave is the central approach to the high altar, the main body of the church. "Nave" was probably suggested by the keel shape of its vaulting...

 is covered by a central dome which at its maximum is 55.6 metre from floor level and rests on an arcade of 40 arched windows. Repairs to its structure have left the dome somewhat elliptical – with the diameter varying between 31.24 metre and 30.86 metre.

At the western entrance side and eastern liturgical side, there are arched openings extended by half domes of identical diameter to the central dome, carried on smaller semi-dome
Semi-dome
A semi-dome, also called a "half-dome", is the term in architecture for half a dome , used to cover a semi-circular area. Similar structures occur in nature.-Architecture:...

d exedra
Exedra
In architecture, an exedra is a semicircular recess or plinth, often crowned by a semi-dome, which is sometimes set into a building's facade. The original Greek sense was applied to a room that opened onto a stoa, ringed with curved high-backed stone benches, a suitable place for a philosophical...

s; a hierarchy of dome-headed elements built up to create a vast oblong interior crowned by the central dome, with a clear span of 76.2 metre.

Interior surfaces are sheathed with polychrome marbles, green and white with purple porphyry
Porphyry (geology)
Porphyry is a variety of igneous rock consisting of large-grained crystals, such as feldspar or quartz, dispersed in a fine-grained feldspathic matrix or groundmass. The larger crystals are called phenocrysts...

, and gold mosaics.

The exterior, clad in stucco
Stucco
Stucco or render is a material made of an aggregate, a binder, and water. Stucco is applied wet and hardens to a very dense solid. It is used as decorative coating for walls and ceilings and as a sculptural and artistic material in architecture...

, was tinted yellow and red during restorations in the 19th century at the direction of the Fossati architects.

Dome


The dome
Dome
A dome is a structural element of architecture that resembles the hollow upper half of a sphere. Dome structures made of various materials have a long architectural lineage extending into prehistory....

 of Hagia Sophia is carried on four concave triangular pendentive
Pendentive
A pendentive is a constructive device permitting the placing of a circular dome over a square room or an elliptical dome over a rectangular room. The pendentives, which are triangular segments of a sphere, taper to points at the bottom and spread at the top to establish the continuous circular or...

s, a form which was first fully realized in this building. The pendentives serve to transition from the circular base of the dome to the rectangular base below. These were reinforced with buttresses during Ottoman times, under the guidance of the architect Mimar Sinan. The weight of the dome remained a problem for most of the building's existence. The original dome collapsed entirely in 558; in 563 a new dome was built which included ribbing and was slightly taller than the original. The second dome collapsed as well, in two portions: the western half in 989 and the eastern half in 1346. The third dome remains on the structure today.

The dome has spurred particular interest for many art historians, architects and engineers because of the innovative way the original architects envisioned the dome. The dome is supported by pendentives, which not only restrain the lateral forces of the dome and allow its weight to flow downwards, but also achieve a pleasing aesthetic quality by enabling the dome to transition gracefully into the square shape of the space below.
Although this design stabilizes the dome and the surrounding walls and arches, the actual construction of the walls of Hagia Sophia weakened the overall structure. The bricklayer
Bricklayer
A bricklayer or mason is a craftsman who lays bricks to construct brickwork. The term also refers to personnel who use blocks to construct blockwork walls and other forms of masonry. In British and Australian English, a bricklayer is colloquially known as a "brickie".The training of a trade in...

s used more mortar
Mortar (masonry)
Mortar is a workable paste used to bind construction blocks together and fill the gaps between them. The blocks may be stone, brick, cinder blocks, etc. Mortar becomes hard when it sets, resulting in a rigid aggregate structure. Modern mortars are typically made from a mixture of sand, a binder...

 than brick, which weakened the walls. The structure would have been more stable if the builders at least let the mortar cure before they began the next layer; however, they did not do this. When the dome was placed atop the building, the weight of the dome caused the walls to lean outward because of the wet mortar underneath. When Isidorus the Younger rebuilt the original dome, he had to first build up the interior of the walls so that they were vertical in order to support the weight of the new dome. Additionally, Isidore the Younger raised the height of the rebuilt dome by approximately six metres so that the lateral forces would not be as strong and the weight of the dome would flow more easily down into the walls.

Another interesting fact about the original structure of the dome was how the architects were able to place forty windows around the base of the dome. Hagia Sophia is famous for the mystical quality of light that reflects everywhere in the interior of the nave, which gives the dome the appearance of hovering above the nave. This design is possible because the dome is shaped like a scallop
Scallop
A scallop is a marine bivalve mollusk of the family Pectinidae. Scallops are a cosmopolitan family, found in all of the world's oceans. Many scallops are highly prized as a food source...

ed shell or the inside of an umbrella with ribs that extend from the top of the dome down to the base. These ribs allow the weight of the dome to flow between the windows, down the pendentives, and ultimately to the foundation.

The unique character of the design of Hagia Sophia shows how this structure is one of the most advanced and ambitious monuments of late antiquity.

Lustration urns



Two huge marble lustration
Lustration
Lustration is the government process regulating the participation of former communists, especially informants of the communist secret police, in the successor political appointee positions or in civil service positions in the period after the fall of the various European Communist states in 1989 –...

 urn
Urn
An urn is a vase, ordinarily covered, that usually has a narrowed neck above a footed pedestal. "Knife urns" placed on pedestals flanking a dining-room sideboard were an English innovation for high-style dining rooms of the late 1760s...

s were brought from Pergamon
Pergamon
Pergamon , or Pergamum, was an ancient Greek city in modern-day Turkey, in Mysia, today located from the Aegean Sea on a promontory on the north side of the river Caicus , that became the capital of the Kingdom of Pergamon during the Hellenistic period, under the Attalid dynasty, 281–133 BC...

 during the reign of Sultan Murad III
Murad III
Murad III was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1574 until his death.-Biography:...

. Originally from the Hellenistic period, they are carved from single blocks of marble.

Narthex and portals



The Imperial Gate was the main entrance between the exo- and esonarthex. It was reserved only for the emperor. The Byzantine mosaic above the portal depicts Christ and Emperor Leo VI the Wise
Leo VI the Wise
Leo VI, surnamed the Wise or the Philosopher , was Byzantine emperor from 886 to 912. The second ruler of the Macedonian dynasty , he was very well-read, leading to his surname...

.

A long ramp from the northern part of the outer narthex leads up to the upper gallery.

Upper Gallery


The upper gallery is laid out in a horseshoe shape that encloses the nave until the apse. Several mosaics are preserved in the upper gallery, an area traditionally reserved for the empress and her court. The best-preserved mosaics are located in the southern part of the gallery.

Loge of the Empress



The Loge of the Empress is located in the centre of the upper enclosure, or gallery, of the Hagia Sophia. From there the empress and the court-ladies would watch the proceedings down below. A round, green stone marks the spot where the throne
Throne
A throne is the official chair or seat upon which a monarch is seated on state or ceremonial occasions. "Throne" in an abstract sense can also refer to the monarchy or the Crown itself, an instance of metonymy, and is also used in many expressions such as "the power behind the...

 of the empress stood.

Marble Door



The Marble Door inside the Hagia Sophia is located in the southern upper enclosure, or gallery. It was used by the participants in synod
Synod
A synod historically is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. In modern usage, the word often refers to the governing body of a particular church, whether its members are meeting or not...

s, they entered and left the meeting chamber through this door.

Decorations


Originally, under Justinian's reign, the interior decorations consisted of abstract designs of the marble slabs on the walls and mosaics on the curving vaults. Of these, one can still see the two archangel
Archangel
An archangel is an angel of high rank. Archangels are found in a number of religious traditions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Michael and Gabriel are recognized as archangels in Judaism and by most Christians. Michael is the only archangel specifically named in the Protestant Bible...

s Gabriel
Gabriel
In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel is an Archangel who typically serves as a messenger to humans from God.He first appears in the Book of Daniel, delivering explanations of Daniel's visions. In the Gospel of Luke Gabriel foretells the births of both John the Baptist and of Jesus...

 and Michael
Michael (archangel)
Michael , Micha'el or Mîkhā'ēl; , Mikhaḗl; or Míchaël; , Mīkhā'īl) is an archangel in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic teachings. Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans refer to him as Saint Michael the Archangel and also simply as Saint Michael...

 in the spandrel
Spandrel
A spandrel, less often spandril or splaundrel, is the space between two arches or between an arch and a rectangular enclosure....

s of the bema. There were already a few figurative decorations, as attested by the eulogy of Paul the Silentiary
Paul the Silentiary
Paul the Silentiary, also known as Paulus Silentiarius , was an epigrammatist and an officer in the imperial household of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I, responsible for the silence in the imperial palace....

. The spandrels of the gallery are revetted in opus sectile
Opus sectile
Opus sectile refers to an art technique popularized in the ancient and medieval Roman world where materials were cut and inlaid into walls and floors to make a picture or pattern. Common materials were marble, mother of pearl, and glass. The materials were cut in thin pieces, polished, then trimmed...

, showing patterns and figures of flowers and birds in precisely cut pieces of white marble set against a background of black marble. In later stages figurative mosaics were added, which were destroyed during the iconoclastic controversy
Iconoclasm
Iconoclasm is the deliberate destruction of religious icons and other symbols or monuments, usually with religious or political motives. It is a frequent component of major political or religious changes...

 (726–843). Present mosaics are from the post-iconoclastic period. The number of treasures, relics and miracle-working, painted icons of the Hagia Sophia grew progressively richer into an amazing collection. Apart from the mosaics, a large number of figurative decorations were added during the second half of the 9th century: an image of Christ in the central dome; Orthodox saints, prophets and Church Fathers
Church Fathers
The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were early and influential theologians, eminent Christian teachers and great bishops. Their scholarly works were used as a precedent for centuries to come...

 in the tympana
Tympanum (architecture)
In architecture, a tympanum is the semi-circular or triangular decorative wall surface over an entrance, bounded by a lintel and arch. It often contains sculpture or other imagery or ornaments. Most architectural styles include this element....

 below; historical figures connected with this church, such as Patriarch Ignatius; some scenes from the gospel
Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

 in the galleries.
Basil II
Basil II
Basil II , known in his time as Basil the Porphyrogenitus and Basil the Young to distinguish him from his ancestor Basil I the Macedonian, was a Byzantine emperor from the Macedonian dynasty who reigned from 10 January 976 to 15 December 1025.The first part of his long reign was dominated...

 let paint on each of the four pendentives a giant six-winged Cherub
Cherub
A cherub is a type of spiritual being mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and cited later on in the Christian biblical canons, usually associated with the presence of God...

. The Ottomans covered their face with a golden halo
Halo (religious iconography)
A halo is a ring of light that surrounds a person in art. They have been used in the iconography of many religions to indicate holy or sacred figures, and have at various periods also been used in images of rulers or heroes...

, but in 2009 one of them has been restored to the original state.

Mosaics



The church was richly decorated with mosaics throughout the centuries. They either depicted the Virgin Mother, Jesus, saints, or emperors and empresses. Other parts were decorated in a purely decorative style with geometric patterns.

During the Sack of Constantinople
Fourth Crusade
The Fourth Crusade was originally intended to conquer Muslim-controlled Jerusalem by means of an invasion through Egypt. Instead, in April 1204, the Crusaders of Western Europe invaded and conquered the Christian city of Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire...

 in 1204, the Latin Crusaders vandalized valuable items in every important Byzantine structure of the city, including the golden mosaics of the Hagia Sophia. Many of these items were shipped to Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

, whose Doge
Doge of Venice
The Doge of Venice , often mistranslated Duke was the chief magistrate and leader of the Most Serene Republic of Venice for over a thousand years. Doges of Venice were elected for life by the city-state's aristocracy. Commonly the person selected as Doge was the shrewdest elder in the city...

, Enrico Dandolo
Enrico Dandolo
Enrico Dandolo — anglicised as Henry Dandolo and Latinized as Henricus Dandulus — was the 41st Doge of Venice from 1195 until his death...

, had organized the invasion and sack of Constantinople.

Following the building's conversion into a mosque in 1453, many of its mosaics were covered with plaster, due to Islam's ban on representational imagery. This process was not completed at once, and reports exist from the 17th century in which travellers note that they could still see Christian images in the former church. In 1847–49, the building was restored by two Swiss Italian
Ticinese
Ticinese is a comprehensive denomination for the varieties of Lombard language spoken in Canton Ticino and in the north of the Province of Varese....

 brothers, Gaspare and Giuseppe Fossati, and Sultan Abdülmecid
Abdülmecid I
Sultan Abdülmecid I, Abdul Mejid I, Abd-ul-Mejid I or Abd Al-Majid I Ghazi was the 31st Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and succeeded his father Mahmud II on July 2, 1839. His reign was notable for the rise of nationalist movements within the empire's territories...

 allowed them to also document any mosaics they might discover during this process. This work did not include repairing the mosaics and after recording the details about an image, the Fossatis painted it over again. This work included covering the previously uncovered faces of two seraph
Seraph
A seraph is a type of celestial being in Judaism and Christianity...

im mosaics located in the centre of the building. The building currently features a total of four of these images and two of them are restorations in paint created by the Fossatis to replace two images of which they could find no surviving remains. In other cases, the Fossatis recreated damaged decorative mosaic patterns in paint, sometimes redesigning them in the process. The Fossati records are the primary sources about a number of mosaic images now believed to have been completely or partially destroyed in an earthquake in 1894. These include a great mosaic of Christ Pantocrator
Christ Pantocrator
In Christian iconography, Christ Pantokrator refers to a specific depiction of Christ. Pantocrator or Pantokrator is a translation of one of many Names of God in Judaism...

 in the dome, a mosaic over a now-unidentified Door of the Poor, a large image of a jewel-encrusted cross
Cross
A cross is a geometrical figure consisting of two lines or bars perpendicular to each other, dividing one or two of the lines in half. The lines usually run vertically and horizontally; if they run obliquely, the design is technically termed a saltire, although the arms of a saltire need not meet...

, and a large number of images of angel
Angel
Angels are mythical beings often depicted as messengers of God in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles along with the Quran. The English word angel is derived from the Greek ἄγγελος, a translation of in the Hebrew Bible ; a similar term, ملائكة , is used in the Qur'an...

s, saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

s, patriarch
Patriarch
Originally a patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family. The system of such rule of families by senior males is called patriarchy. This is a Greek word, a compound of πατριά , "lineage, descent", esp...

s, and church fathers. Most of the missing images were located in the building's two tympana. The Fossatis also added a pulpit (minbar
Minbar
A minbar is a pulpit in the mosque where the imam stands to deliver sermons or in the Hussainia where the speaker sits and lectures the congregation...

) and the four large medallions on the walls of the nave bearing the names of Muhammad and Islam's first caliphs.

Imperial Gate mosaic

  • Imperial Gate mosaics: located in the tympanum
    Tympanum (architecture)
    In architecture, a tympanum is the semi-circular or triangular decorative wall surface over an entrance, bounded by a lintel and arch. It often contains sculpture or other imagery or ornaments. Most architectural styles include this element....

     above the gate, used only by the emperors when entering the church. Based on style analysis, it has been dated to the late 9th or early 10th century. The emperor with a nimbus or halo
    Halo (religious iconography)
    A halo is a ring of light that surrounds a person in art. They have been used in the iconography of many religions to indicate holy or sacred figures, and have at various periods also been used in images of rulers or heroes...

     could possibly represent emperor Leo VI the Wise
    Leo VI the Wise
    Leo VI, surnamed the Wise or the Philosopher , was Byzantine emperor from 886 to 912. The second ruler of the Macedonian dynasty , he was very well-read, leading to his surname...

     or his son Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus bowing down before Christ Pantocrator, seated on a jeweled throne, giving His blessing and holding in His left hand an open book. The text on the book reads as follows: "Peace be with you. I am the light of the world". (John 20:19; 20:26; 8:12) On each side of Christ's shoulders is a circular medallion: on His left the Archangel Gabriel , holding a staff
    Staff of office
    A staff of office is a staff, the carrying of which often denotes an official's position, a social rank or a degree of social prestige.Apart from the ecclesiastical and ceremonial usages mentioned below, there are less formal usages. A gold- or silver-topped cane can express social standing...

    , on His right His Mother Mary.

Southwestern entrance mosaic


  • Southwestern entrance mosaics, situated in the tympanum of the southwestern entrance, date from 944. They were rediscovered during the restorations of 1849 by Fossati. The Virgin sits on a throne without a back, her feet resting on a pedestal, embellished with precious stones. The Child Christ
    Child Jesus
    The Child Jesus represents Jesus from his Nativity to age 12. At 13 he was considered to be adult, in accordance with the Jewish custom of his time, and that of most Christian cultures until recent centuries.The Child Jesus is frequently depicted in art, from around the third or fourth century...

     sits on her lap, giving His blessing and holding a scroll in His left hand. On her left side stands emperor Constantine in ceremonial attire, presenting a model of the city to Mary. The inscription next to him says: "Great emperor Constantine of the Saints". On her right side stands emperor Justinian I
    Justinian I
    Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

    , offering a model of the Hagia Sophia. The medallions on both sides of the Virgin's head carry the monogram
    Monogram
    A monogram is a motif made by overlapping or combining two or more letters or other graphemes to form one symbol. Monograms are often made by combining the initials of an individual or a company, used as recognizable symbols or logos. A series of uncombined initials is properly referred to as a...

    s MP and ΘY, an abbreviation of "Mētēr" and "Theou", meaning "Mother of God".



Apse mosaics


  • Virgin and Child: this was the first of the post-iconoclastic mosaics. It was inaugurated on 29 March 867 by Patriarch Photius
    Patriarch Photios I of Constantinople
    Photios I , also spelled Photius or Fotios, was the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from 858 to 867 and from 877 to 886. He is recognized in the Eastern Orthodox churches as St...

     and the emperors Michael III
    Michael III
    Michael III , , Byzantine Emperor from 842 to 867. Michael III was the third and traditionally last member of the Amorian-Phrygian Dynasty...

     and Basil I
    Basil I
    Basil I, called the Macedonian was a Byzantine emperor of probable Armenian descent who reigned from 867 to 886. Born a simple peasant in the Byzantine theme of Macedonia, he rose in the imperial court, and usurped the imperial throne from Emperor Michael III...

    . This mosaic is situated in a high location on the half dome of the apse. Mary is sitting on a throne without a back, holding the Child Jesus on her lap. Her feet rest on a pedestal. Both the pedestal and the throne are adorned with precious stones. These mosaics were believed to be a reconstruction of the mosaics of the 6th century that were previously destroyed during the iconoclastic era by the Byzantines of that time, as represented in the inaugural sermon by the patriarch Photios. However, no record of figural decoration of Hagia Sophia exists before this time. The mosaics are set against the original golden background of the 6th century. The portraits of the archangels Gabriel and Michael (largely destroyed) in the bema
    Bema
    The Bema means a raised platform...

     of the arch also date from the 9th century.

Emperor Alexander mosaic

  • The Emperor Alexander mosaic is not easy to find for the first-time visitor, located in the second floor in a dark corner of the ceiling. It depicts Emperor Alexander in full regalia, holding a scroll in his right hand and a globus cruciger
    Globus cruciger
    The globus cruciger is an orb topped with a cross , a Christian symbol of authority used throughout the Middle Ages and even today on coins, iconography and royal regalia...

     in his left. A drawing by Fossati showed that the mosaic survived until 1849, and that Thomas Whittemore
    Thomas Whittemore
    Thomas Whittemore was a scholar, archaeologist and the founder of the Byzantine Institute of America. He was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1871...

    , founder of the Byzantine Institute of America
    Byzantine Institute of America
    The Byzantine Institute of America is an organization founded for the preservation of Byzantine art and architecture. Working with the Turkish government and President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, its greatest notable success is the preservation of the mosaics in Hagia Sophia starting in June 1931...

     who was granted permission to preserve the mosaics, assumed that it had been destroyed in the earthquake of 1894. Eight years after his death, the mosaic was discovered in 1958 largely through the researches of Robert Van Nice. Unlike most of the other mosaics in Hagia Sophia, which had been covered over by ordinary plaster, the Alexander mosaic was simply painted over and reflected the surrounding mosaic patterns and thus was well hidden. It was duly cleaned by the Byzantine Institute's successor to Whittemore, Paul A. Underwood.

Empress Zoe mosaics


  • The Empress Zoe mosaics on the eastern wall of the southern gallery date from the 11th century. Christ Pantocrator, clad in the dark blue robe (as always the custom in Byzantine art), is seated in the middle against a golden background, giving His blessing with the right hand and holding the Bible in His left hand. On either side of His head are the monograms IC and XC, meaning Iēsous Khristos. He is flanked by Constantine IX Monomachus and Empress Zoe
    Zoe (empress)
    Zoe reigned as Byzantine Empress alongside her sister Theodora from April 19 to June 11, 1042...

    , both in ceremonial costumes. He is offering a purse, as symbol of the donation he made to the church, while she is holding a scroll, symbol of the donations she made. The inscription over the head of the emperor says : "Constantine, pious emperor in Christ the God, king of the Romans, Monomachus". The inscription over the head of the empress reads as follows : "Zoë, the very pious Augusta". The previous heads have been scraped off and replaced by the three present ones. Perhaps the earlier mosaic showed her first husband Romanus III Argyrus
    Romanos III
    Romanos III Argyros was Byzantine emperor from 15 November 1028 until his death.-Biography:...

     or her adopted son Michael IV. Another theory is that these mosaics were made for an earlier emperor and empress, with their heads changed into the present ones.

Comnenus mosaics


  • The Comnenus mosaics, equally located on the eastern wall of the southern gallery, date from 1122. The Virgin Mary is standing in the middle, depicted, as usual in Byzantine art, in a dark blue gown. She holds the Child Christ on her lap. He gives His blessing with His right hand while holding a scroll in His left hand. On her right side stands emperor John II Comnenus, represented in a garb embellished with precious stones. He holds a purse, symbol of an imperial donation to the church. Empress Irene
    Piroska of Hungary
    Saint Irene of Hungary, born Piroska, was a daughter of Ladislaus I of Hungary and Adelaide of Swabia. Her maternal grandparents were Rudolf of Rheinfeld and his second wife Adelheid of Savoy. Adelheid was a daughter of Otto of Savoy and Adelaide of Turin. She was the mother of the future emperor...

     stands on the left side of the Virgin, wearing ceremonial garments and offering a document. Their eldest son Alexius Comnenus is represented on an adjacent pilaster. He is shown as a beardless youth, probably representing his appearance at his coronation aged seventeen. In this panel one can already see a difference with the Empress Zoe mosaics that is one century older. There is a more realistic expression in the portraits instead of an idealized representation. The empress is shown with plaited blond hair, rosy cheeks and grey eyes, revealing her Hungarian descent. The emperor is depicted in a dignified manner.

Deësis mosaic


Mosaic-1041.jpg


  • The Deësis
    Deesis
    In Byzantine art, and later Eastern Orthodox art generally, the Deësis or Deisis , is a traditional iconic representation of Christ in Majesty or Christ Pantocrator: enthroned, carrying a book, and flanked by the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist, and sometimes other saints and angels...

     ('Δέησις' in Greek, meaning Entreaty) mosaic
    probably dates from 1261. It was commissioned to mark the end of 57 years of Roman Catholic use and the return to the Orthodox faith. It is the third panel situated in the imperial enclosure of the upper galleries. It is widely considered the finest in Hagia Sophia, because of the softness of the features, the humane expressions and the tones of the mosaic. The style is close to that of the Italian painters of the late 13th or early 14th century, such as Duccio
    Duccio
    Duccio di Buoninsegna was one of the most influential Italian artists of his time. Born in Siena, Tuscany, he worked mostly with pigment and egg tempera and like most of his contemporaries painted religious subjects...

    . In this panel the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist
    John the Baptist
    John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

     (Ioannes Prodromos), both shown in three-quarters profile, are imploring the intercession of Christ Pantocrator for humanity on Judgment Day
    Last Judgment
    The Last Judgment, Final Judgment, Day of Judgment, Judgment Day, or The Day of the Lord in Christian theology, is the final and eternal judgment by God of every nation. The concept is found in all the Canonical gospels, particularly the Gospel of Matthew. It will purportedly take place after the...

    . The bottom part of this mosaic is badly deteriorated. This mosaic is considered as the beginning of the Renaissance in Byzantine pictorial art.

Northern tympanon mosaics


  • The northern tympanon mosaics feature various saints. They have been able to survive due to the very high and unreachable location. They depict Saints John Chrysostom
    John Chrysostom
    John Chrysostom , Archbishop of Constantinople, was an important Early Church Father. He is known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and his ascetic...

     and Ignatius the Younger standing, clothed in white robes with crosses, and holding richly jewelled Holy Bibles. The names of each saint is given around the statues in Greek, in order to enable an identification for the visitor. The other mosaics in the other tympani have not survived probably due to the frequent earthquakes as opposed to any deliberate destruction by the Ottoman conquerors.

20th-century restoration



A large number of mosaics were uncovered in the 1930s by a team from the Byzantine Institute of America
Byzantine Institute of America
The Byzantine Institute of America is an organization founded for the preservation of Byzantine art and architecture. Working with the Turkish government and President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, its greatest notable success is the preservation of the mosaics in Hagia Sophia starting in June 1931...

 led by Thomas Whittemore
Thomas Whittemore
Thomas Whittemore was a scholar, archaeologist and the founder of the Byzantine Institute of America. He was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1871...

. The team chose to let a number of simple cross images remain covered by plaster, but uncovered all major mosaics found.

Because of its long history as both a church and a mosque, a particular challenge arises in the restoration process. The Christian iconographic
Iconography
Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images. The word iconography literally means "image writing", and comes from the Greek "image" and "to write". A secondary meaning is the painting of icons in the...

 mosaics are being gradually uncovered. However, in order to do so, important, historic Islamic art would have to be destroyed. Restorers have attempted to maintain a balance between both Christian and Islamic cultures. In particular, much controversy rests upon whether the Islamic calligraphy
Islamic calligraphy
Islamic calligraphy, colloquially known as Perso-Arabic calligraphy, is the artistic practice of handwriting, or calligraphy, and by extension, of bookmaking, in the lands sharing a common Islamic cultural heritage. This art form is based on the Arabic script, which for a long time was used by all...

 on the dome of the cathedral should be removed, in order to permit the underlying Pantocrator mosaic of Christ as Master of the World, to be exhibited (assuming the mosaic still exists).

Minarets


One of the minarets (at southwest) was built from red brick while the other three were built from white limestone and sand stone; of which the slender one at northeast was erected by Sultan Bayezid II
Bayezid II
Bayezid II or Sultân Bayezid-î Velî was the oldest son and successor of Mehmed II, ruling as Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1481 to 1512...

 while the two larger minarets at west were erected by Sultan Selim II
Selim II
Selim II Sarkhosh Hashoink , also known as "Selim the Sot " or "Selim the Drunkard"; and as "Sarı Selim" or "Selim the Blond", was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1566 until his death in 1574.-Early years:He was born in Constantinople a son of Suleiman the...

 and designed by the famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan.

See also

  • Church of the Holy Apostles
    Church of the Holy Apostles
    The Church of the Holy Apostles , also known as the Imperial Polyandreion, was a Christian church built in Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, in 550. It was second only to the Church of the Holy Wisdom among the great churches of the capital...

    —the second most important church of Constantinople
  • Hagia Irene
    Hagia Irene
    Hagia Irene or Hagia Eirene , often erroneously rendered in English as St Irene, is a former Eastern Orthodox church located in the outer courtyard of Topkapı Palace in Istanbul, Turkey. It is open as a museum every day except Monday but requires special permission for admission.-Church:The...

    —neighbouring church
  • Chora Church
    Chora Church
    The Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora is considered to be one of the most beautiful examples of a Byzantine church. The church is situated in Istanbul, in the Edirnekapı neighborhood, which lies in the western part of the municipality of Fatih...

    —the best preserved Byzantine church in Istanbul, now a museum too
  • Oldest churches in the world
    Oldest churches in the world
    This article lists the oldest church buildings.The oldest extant buildings identified as early sites of Christian worship date to the 3rd century....

  • Pammakaristos Church
    Pammakaristos Church
    Pammakaristos Church, also known as the Church of Theotokos Pammakaristos , in 1591 converted into a mosque and known as Fethiye Mosque and today partly a museum, is one of the most famous Byzantine churches in Istanbul, Turkey...

    : its parekklesion—also a museum—is decorated with beautiful mosaics
  • Haseki Hürrem Sultan Hamamı
    Haseki Hürrem Sultan Hamami
    The Haseki Hürrem Sultan Hamamı is a Turkish hamam that was commissioned by Sultan Suleiman I's consort Roxelana and constructed by Mimar Sinan during the 16th century in Istanbul...

    —bath commissioned by Roxelana
    Roxelana
    Haseki Hürrem Sultan was the wife of Süleyman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire.-Names:Sixteenth-century sources are silent as to her maiden name, but much later traditions, for example Ukrainian folk traditions first recorded in the 19th century, give it as "Anastasia" , and Polish...

     for the Hagia Sophia community
  • Caferağa Medresseh
    Caferaga Medresseh
    The Caferağa Medresseh is a former medresseh, located in Istanbul, Turkey, next to the Hagia Sophia. It was built in 1559 by Mimar Sinan by orders of Cafer Agha, a eunuch during the reign of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent...

    —former Koranic school next to Hagia Sophia
  • Soğukçeşme Sokağı
    Sogukçesme Sokagi
    Soğukçeşme Sokağı is a small street with historic houses in the Sultanahmet neighborhood of Istanbul, Turkey, sandwiched in-between the Hagia Sophia and Topkapı Palace...

    —historical street between the Hagia Sophia and Topkapı Palace
  • Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev
    Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev
    Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev is an outstanding architectural monument of Kievan Rus'. Today, it is one of the city's best known landmarks and the first Ukrainian patrimony to be inscribed on the World Heritage List along with the Kiev Cave Monastery complex...

  • Saint Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod
    Saint Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod
    The Cathedral of St. Sophia in the Kremlin in Veliky Novgorod is the cathedral church of the Archbishop of Novgorod and the mother church of the Novgorodian Eparchy.-History:...

  • Saint Sophia Cathedral in Polotsk
    Saint Sophia Cathedral in Polotsk
    The Cathedral of Holy Wisdom in Polotsk was built by Prince Vseslav Briacheslavich between 1044 and 1066...

  • Hagia Sophia Church (Sofia)
  • Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
    Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
    The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is a prominent Latin Rite Catholic basilica located in Washington, D.C., honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, the Patroness of the United States...

  • Franciscan Monastery (Washington, DC)
  • Saint Clement Catholic Church, Chicago
    Saint Clement Catholic Church, Chicago
    St. Clement Catholic Church was built in 1917-1918 in Lincoln Park in Chicago. The architect was Thomas P. Barnett of the St. Louis firm of Barnett, Haynes & Barnett....

    —the designer was said to have been influenced by the Hagia Sophia
  • Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia
    Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia
    The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia is the Catholic archeparchy governing all Ukrainian Greek Catholic eparchies and Ukrainian Greek Catholics in the United States. Its headquarters are at 827 North Franklin Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.The current metropolitan is the...

    —the article shows the cathedral, resembling the Hagia Sophia
  • List of megalithic sites
  • Conversion of non-Muslim places of worship into mosques
    Conversion of non-Muslim places of worship into mosques
    Conversion of non-Muslim places of worship into mosques began during the life of Muhammad and continued during subsequent Islamic conquests and under the Muslim rule...

  • Pendentive
    Pendentive
    A pendentive is a constructive device permitting the placing of a circular dome over a square room or an elliptical dome over a rectangular room. The pendentives, which are triangular segments of a sphere, taper to points at the bottom and spread at the top to establish the continuous circular or...

     Architectural device

Literature

  • Harris, Jonathan, Constantinople: Capital of Byzantium. Hambledon/Continuum (2007). ISBN 978 1847251794

Articles


External links




Mosaics