Thursday, October 14, 2010

Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia) (Istanbul, Turkey)

Another "must-see" in Istanbul, the Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia in Greek).

The unassuming exterior.

The Aya Sofya looks quite small and, frankly, quite dull from the outside. But inside...

People, people, people everywhere.

I don't know how that "tiny" structure outside could house this interior!

In a nutshell, work on the present structure began around 532 A.D. and there were numerous instances of damage and periods of reconstruction.

It was the largest basilica in the world for around a millenium and had quite an architectural influence.

Originally built as an Eastern Orthodox church, it was later converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral, then to a mosque.

Carpets once covered the marble floors.

Its interior reflects this complicated history.

Various types of mosaics reflecting different periods adorn the interior surfaces, with some having been painted or plastered over. The mosaics have been or are being restored.

Giant medallions inscribed with Islamic calligraphy hang on columns.

Apparently, there used to be much more scaffolding around in previous years.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, "father" of the Republic of Turkey, transformed the site into a museum in 1935.

That's as small a nutshell as I could manage.

Hmm, this is just... um, not "pleasing to the eye".

On display:
A copy of a record of decisions passed by a general synod (a regular supreme religious assembly) that was held at Hagia Sophia in 1166.

, a fountain for ritual ablutions.

Nobody seemed to be taking notice of this structure.

But, it's nice, no?

Coincidentally enough, I chanced about Martha Stewart's Istanbul Show videos on her website! There's a short description, as well as a video of her visit.
Martha Stewart: The History of Hagia Sophia

For more information:
Wikipedia: Hagia_Sophia
Turkey Travel Planner: Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia)

eatingclub vancouver in Turkey (September 2010)
Sultanahmet Camii (Blue Mosque) (Istanbul, Turkey)
Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia) (Istanbul, Turkey)
Topkapı Sarayı (Palace) Museum (Istanbul, Turkey)
Turkey Flora
Hierapolis Ruins and Travertines (Pamukkale, Turkey)
Güray Pottery (Avanos, Turkey)

For Turkish dishes:
Turkey (the country, not the fowl)
Turkish Çay (Tea)

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  1. I am enjoying this series very much TS. He he he ... first thing I did was to look and see if people wears shoes into this place. Yup, they do it seems (in the 3rd picture). Is this a working mosque too? Ben

  2. Wow, such intricate and beautiful artwork! I bet the pictures (although fantastic) don't do the place justice!

  3. I think I like the blue mosque more. More soothing. That said, both are so architecturally magnificent, it's hard to decide.

  4. I was outside there a few months ago and unfortunately it was closed that day; so I need to plan a trip back, love Istanbul and all of Turkey! thanks for the pictures.

  5. Ben & Suanne:
    Nope, this has been converted to a museum. The place is quite HUGE, so I think even if there were feet smells, the huge space will dissipate them. ;)

    The more we look at the photos, the more we think so too!

    Exactly! Especially because the space was quite overwhelming in its vastness.

    Wandering Chopsticks:
    No need to decide now. Scoot on over to Istanbul and visit them both! They are actually just right beside each other.

    Thanks for the comment! Wow, at least you get to go to Istanbul/Turkey more easily. For us, I don't think we'll be able to go back in the near future at all.

  6. Wow...Istanbul looks so amazing! Thanks for the comment on my pide post and I must say, I'm so jealous that you guys were basically at the source of it all. Did you catch a few photos of pide in Istanbul? I would love to see them. :)

  7. riceandwheat:
    We didn't have too much pide, but we managed to eat some! I think we'll probably do a "foods of Turkey" type post. =)

  8. Ben (What's Cooking):
    Mexico is one of ours. =)

  9. Great pics! The architecture in Istanbul is truly amazing.


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