After the Blue Mosque, we walked over the Hagia Sofia. There, we purchased a combined pass for several museums and attractions in Istanbul. 125 Lira ea, or about $25 Canadian: a good deal.
Hagia Sophia was beautiful, it truly redeemed my experience at the Blue Mosque. There was some construction in the main area, but it was still impressive and truly interesting to photograph. We were also allowed to go onto the gallery, and that gave a whole other set of views to photograph.
Hagia Sophia is the only building in the world that has served to three religions in order. The site had been a pagan temple before the first Hagia Sophia was first built by Emperor Constantine in 360 AD. It would burn down twice and be rebuilt. The current structure was built in 537 by Emperor Justinianos.
It is fascinating to me to think that this building is 1500 years old. How were they even able to construct such complex structures so long ago? There have been many additions and improvements over the centuries, but still, the main building is much as it was when it was first built, and that construction took only five years. To me, that is mind blowing.
The church was Christian Orthodox until Istanbul was conquered by Fatih Sultan Mehmed, in 1453, Hagia Sophia was converted in a mosque. Then, Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1935.
Perhaps the fact that this is a museum explains why I felt so much more comfortable photographing here. And yet, I often photograph in Catholic churches, and I have no issues with it, as long as I feel I am respectful. In any case, Hagia Sophia and I were quickly becoming friends as I enjoyed the many elements of the structure, the many curves, the stained glass windows, the detailed decorations. I let myself relax and play with all of these aspects. As a result, I feel like I made several images that convey how I felt about the place. I hope these convey the building’s magnificent structure and its many fine detailed embellishments.
They are close to one another and have always represented the relationship between the Christian and Ottoman history in Istanbul. For me, this time, at least, Hagia Sophia definitely wins over the Blue Mosque.
Next post, I’ll take you along with me to Topkapi Palace. Don’t miss it! It was the day’s jewel and I found it highly intriguing.
For the complete series of photographs of Hagia Sophia, please see my Hagia Sophia page at: