If you want an insight into the Byzantine and Ottoman civilizations of the ancient world, the Hagia Sophia, located in the charming Turkish city of Istanbul, is the right place to get it. This marvellous architectural masterpiece is a very important monument of two of the greatest empires in the history of the world: the Byzantine and the Ottoman Empires. The captivating Hagia Sophia brings the culture and heritage of two great empires under one dome.
The architectural splendour of Hagia Sophia is unparalleled. Located at the very heart of Istanbul, which was once known as Constantinople. The interior of this monument is adorned with alluring marble pillars and mosaics. It was said that at the completion of this dome, King Justin, the Byzantine emperor under whose watch the dome was completed, exclaimed that he has beaten Solomon, the famous Jewish king, in building the best temple in the history of humans.
This gives you an idea of how majestic and captivating the dome is. It is one of the most amazing domes that have been built by man in the history of the world. This was man at his best in using his creative energy. The Hagia Sophia is a product of man’s genius at work.
The Hagia Sophia has been different things in different times in history. It was originally built as a church. When it was being used as a church, it was the largest church in the world. In fact, it holds that record for about 1000 years until the Cathedral in the Spanish city of Seville took over this record from it.
All these happen during the era of the Byzantine Empire. When the Ottoman Empire came on board, the Hagia Sophia was converted into a Mosque. Since 1935 it has served as a museum, giving people all over the world a chance to appreciate the architectural genius of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires.
The design and architecture of the Hagia Sophia was the creation of the two main Byzantine Greek architects; Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles. In their creation, they have captivated the interest of mankind for years and held them spellbound. The marble door of the dome, the gallery, and mosaic are simply stunning. These features add a magical effect to this majestic structure. This accounts for the mystical effect that keeps attracting people from all over the world in their droves to this man-made wonder. This dome makes visitor people marvel at the creative genius of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires.
The Hagia Sophia is one of must-see structures in the world. A visit to the enthralling Turkish city of Istanbul is never complete without feasting your eyes on architectural wonder. This is a gift from two great empires to the world. So visit this dome and enjoy this gift.
This is just one of the many fascinating things to do in Turkey, for more ideas and inspiration, read our guide to the Top Things to do in Turkey.