News & more!Escapes
My trip reviewsGallery
My travel photosPlanning
The Amazing Hagia Sophia
The Hagia Sophia is the most prominent attraction of a monumental weight and undoubtedly, Turkey's most famous building.
It used to be huge Christian church before it was converted into a mosque by the Ottoman Turks. Today, it's an impressive museum.
No matter how big it it, you have to stand in line to get in... so, I did...
I commenced my Istanbul exploration with a visit to the Hagia Sophia.
It was fairly close, so I literally walked up to it. I just followed the tram lines and after a while it was almost impossible not to notice it. It's in the Sultanahmet area, by the way.
Strangely, a huge crowd expected me at the entrance. It took around 45-60 minutes for me to be able to get in. People were moving so slowly... There were huge crowds of visitors from all over the World.
What a beautiful sight, isn't it?
As said, this immense building used to be a Christian church.
Back then, the city was called Constantinople...
The original Greek Orthodox basilica was constructed in 537.
Between 1204-1261, it was converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire.
The building was transformed into a mosque in 1453, which functioned until 1931.
It felt strange walking into a building that was built nearly 1,500 years ago!
And, it's not any kind of a building. It looks and it feels huge!
Besides, it's an uplifting experience to be inside.
The internal walls bear Islamic elements, but some of the original Christian elements were left untouched. You can actually see Virgin Mary and Jesus depictions!
The pendant chandeliers create an unparalleled atmosphere...
I feel as if these places live and vibrate.
In these ancient holy places I feel emotionally uplifted. I can feel some sort of presence, as if something is coming out of the walls.
I wonder how a visit to Byzantium would have felt like?
The church was dedicated to the Wisdom of God, but the Hagia Sophia (Greek) term actually means Saint Sophia (an Eastern Orthodox saint).
Even by today's standards it's monumentally huge. It's immense. But for nearly 1,000 years, it had been the biggest Christian church in the entire World.
It's not the sizes that impress me, but the beauty. Still, I fell like I have to share a few facts about this building.
The height of the building is 55 m (180 ft), which is quite impressive - considering the fact that it was built in the 530's.
Not far from it is the Blue Mosque, just across the park area.
Part of the Christian depictions remaining on the walls
In the end, I'd say that visiting the Hagia Sophia was an uplifting, vein-warming experience and I'd always put it into the top 10 of holy places that I've visited.
Non-Muslims rarely have the opportunity to see the interiors of a mosque, but the Hagia Sophia is only a museum - so visit it without any frustration.
After the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, I paid a visit to the Topkapi Museum.
There is a park area in front of the Hagia Sophia
Let's not forget, the building is based on an old Eastern Orthodox Cathedral
It has quite a complex structure. The build-up is rather unusual, it has several smaller cupolas
Words from the Quran
The dual character (Christian church and Mosque) is clearly visible
The main cupola
Pillars built in ionic and doric styles - atypical to mosques. Again, a Christian characteristic.
Large amounts of marble were used when constructing the original church
View towards the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque)
About the Author:
Escape Hunter, the young solo traveler in his early 30's explores the World driven by curiosity, thirst for adventure, deep passion for beauty, love for freedom and diversity.
With a nuanced, even humorous approach to travel, an obsession for art and design, Escape Hunter prefers to travel slowly, in order to learn and "soak up" the local atmosphere...
comments powered by Disqus
As "Escape Hunter" - the curious incognito traveler with an insatiable drive to explore, I embark on slow and deep travels around
our beautiful World.
Join me and I will show you exciting destinations
"from within", through my
Travel Slang Dictionary
Guide to my personal travel slang vocabulary, which seasons my content...