Hagia Sophia was built under Emperor Justinian. It was one of the most famous rulers of Byzantium, who came to power in 527. His name is associated with many actions that led to the power of the Byzantine Empire – the creation of a code of laws, the expansion of territory, the construction of palaces and temples. But the most famous temple of Constantinople, perhaps, is Hagia Sophia.
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Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, the cathedral church of Hagia Sophia, Hagia Sophia, the Great Church – this interesting building has many names. There were many legends about the resources spent with the erected temple in its time, but they all faded in comparison with reality.
Construction of the cathedral
Only one idea surpassed all possible goals – the Church of St. Sophia in Constantinople was supposed to be better than the famous temple of King Solomon in Jerusalem. For five years (532-537) ten thousand workers worked on the erection of a new symbol of Constantinople. The temple was made of brick, but the finishing went much more expensive material. Here used ornamental stone, gold, silver, pearls, precious stones, ivory. Such investments strongly tightened the treasury of the empire. Eight columns were brought here from the famous temple of Artemis at Ephesus. The whole country worked for the construction of this miracle.
By the time the construction of the Hagia Sophia temple in Istanbul began, Byzantine craftsmen had already had experience building such structures. So the architects Anfimy from Thrall and Isidore from Miletus completed the construction of the church of Sergius and Bacchus in 527. It was for them that fate prepared them to become the builders of a great legend, a symbol of the greatness and power of the empire.
The building in the plan has a rectangle with sides of 79 meters by 72 meters. The height of the temple of Hagia Sophia over the dome is 55.6 meters, the diameter of the dome itself, “hanging” over the temple on four columns, is 31.5 meters.
Hagia Sophia in Istanbul was erected on a hill, and its position stood out against the general background of the city. Such a decision struck contemporaries. Its dome was particularly prominent, visible from all sides of the city, and distinguished in the dense buildings of Constantinople.
Inside the temple
In front of the entrance to the Hagia Sophia Cathedral there is a spacious courtyard with a fountain located in the center. Nine doors lead to the temple itself, the right of entry through the central door was granted only to the emperor and the patriarch.
Inside, Hagia Sophia in Istanbul looks no less beautiful than the outside. The huge domed hall, corresponding to the image of the universe, suggests deep thoughts for the visitor. It makes no sense to even describe the beauty of the temple, it is better to see once.
Mosaics of the Cathedral
In former times, the tops of the walls were covered with mosaics with paintings on various subjects. During the iconoclasm in 726-843, they were destroyed, so the current situation does not fully reflect the picture of the former beauty of the interior decoration of the building. In later times, new artistic creations were created in the church of Hagia Sophia in Byzantium.
The Hagia Sophia temple was damaged many times during fires and earthquakes, but each time it was rebuilt again. But one thing is the element of nature, the other is people. So after the defeat of the crusaders in 1204, the interior decoration was impossible to restore.
The greatness of the temple ended with the fall of Constantinople in 1453. In the temple on the day of the death of Byzantium sought the salvation of the order of ten thousand Christians.
Legends and interesting facts
There are interesting legends associated with the Hagia Sophia in Turkey. So on one of the marble slabs of the temple you can see a handprint. According to legend, he was left by Sultan Mehmed II, who conquered Constantinople. When he drove into the temple on horseback, the horse was frightened and reared. To remain in the saddle, the conqueror had to lean against the wall.
Another story is related to one of the temple niches. If you lean your ear against it, you hear a noise. People say that during the assault, the priest took refuge in this niche, and the noise brought to us is his endless prayer for salvation.
Muslim mosque Hagia Sophia
After the conquest of the Christian church, it was decided to convert the Hagia Sophia mosque. Already on June 1, 1453, the first service was performed here. Of course, during the perestroika, many Christian ornaments were destroyed. Also in later times, the temple was surrounded by four minarets.
Hagia Sophia Museum
Restoration work in the temple began in 1935 by order of the President of Turkey. Hagia Sophia acquires the status of a museum. Here for the visitor the first images hidden behind thick layers were cleared. The Hagia Sophia temple in our day can be safely considered the great achievement of human thought, a reflection of spirituality in architecture.