Hagia Sophia in Istanbul was built originally in 537 as a Christian basilica but was converted into a mosque in 1453 after the Ottomans conquered the city. It has been a museum since 1935. The original church was commissioned by Emperor Justinian, and before the completion of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome it was the largest church in all Christendom. The building measures 77 x 71.1 metres, and its dome is 32 metres in diameter. Hagia Sophia is one of the finest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. Its interior is decorated with colourful mosaics and marble pillars. After its conversion into a mosque, four minarets were added to the building, and some of the pictures in the interior were plastered over. The mosaics were uncovered during restorations in the mid-19th century and when the building was converted into a museum.
Hagia Sophia 537 AD III, 2014
© Ola Kolehmainen