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Hagia Sophia is one of the main attractions of Istanbul. Of course, there is a place of power, prayed for centuries by people of various religions, a place of high energy, a crossroads of historical events over the past couple of thousand years. One can pay attention to the history of Hagia Sophia. At first, there was a pagan altar, later the Hagia Sophia was erected as a shrine of Constantinople, and of the entire Christian world as a whole. The massiveness of the columns of the temple immediately attracts attention, because they were erected to control the entire mass of the building. When you see the structure as a whole, you feel the grandeur of ancient architecture, which is transmitted to those who visited.
The History and Power of Hagia Sophia
Istanbul is like an oriental carpet, it all consists of contradictions that are woven into a single harmonious pattern, but this is the unique charm of this city. In addition, we must not forget that this is one of the greatest cities in the world with a century-long rich history. Outwardly, Hagia Sophia loses to the Blue Mosque, which stands just opposite, across the square. Sophia was completed and rebuilt so much that the majestic building was drowned in small outbuildings and other elements that grew on its walls over time. Surrounded and propped up on all sides by the tombs of the sultans, Sophia hid from view (“Hagia Sophia”). But the enchanting impression that these ancient walls make, the heart of the Christian, Orthodox faith, cannot be spoiled by anything.
And it was here that in 1054, during divine service, the envoy of the Pope of Rome presented the Patriarch of Constantinople with a letter of exclusion. In response to this, the patriarch anathematized the papal delegates, which was the beginning of the division of the churches into Orthodox and Catholic. Hagia Sophia remained the main Christian cathedral until 1453 when Sultan Mehmet captured the glorious city of Constantinople. The Sultan was impressed by the beauty of the temple, appreciated its greatness, and ordered the cathedral to be converted into a mosque. Minarets were added outside, the mosaics were plastered and it is precise because of this that they have been well preserved to this day (Winston). It is clear that the architect was well aware of the contemporary technology, making the structure of the building strong enough to stand for hundreds of years.
The entire courtyard of the Hagia Sophia is a large archaeological site. There are fragments of Christian Byzantine churches here, in the cathedral it is possible to take an audio guide, leaving a passport or a decent amount of money as a deposit. The Hagia Sophia itself strikes with reverent silence, grandeur, and splendor, there are no luxurious interiors here. They once were, but the Crusaders and Ottomans took out gold and valuables, and we were left with only ancient walls. From the gallery, one can also see the so-called navel of the earth along with the main dome, which is called Omphal. The coronation of all the emperors of the Eastern Roman era took place here (Winston). Hence, another reason for Hagia Sophia standing after hundreds of years in a Muslim state lies in politics. The place appeared sacred not only to Christians but also to other citizens of the world.
Upon taking a closer look, one will see that not only there are windows between the columns, but also in the columns themselves, there are windows cut into the floor to give light to the inside. Inside the cathedral, one can move around the room without even entering the holy of holies, everything is beautiful, and one never ceases to be amazed at the idea of the architect and the hands of the builders, everything seems airy, especially the dome (Winston). This airiness is created with the help of heavy concrete columns, which are striking from the outside.
It is known that for many centuries this temple was under the Ottoman rule and served as a place of prayer for Muslims, there are many places in the temple on which sacred sayings from the Koran are written in Arabic, and many Christian frescoes were painted over. However, there are images of angels and the mother of God, which remained in their places, which suggests that all the same, Christians, Muslims, and even Jews can find much in common between themselves and their religions. One should pay attention to this, and respect the religion of others, all the same, there are threads of unification.
"Hagia Sophia". History, 2022, https://www.history.com/topics/ancient-greece/hagia-sophia.
Winston, Richard. Hagia Sophia. New Word City, 2017.
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