Hagia Sophia - Istanbul /TURKEY

Hagia Sophia – Istanbul / TURKEY

Hagia Sophia (Turkish: Ayasofya] was first an Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, and is presently a museum. Its fascinating history and stunning beauty make it a must-see attraction for any tourist visiting Istanbul. In the past 1500 years, the museum has been through a multitude of earthquakes, collapses, fires, and battles. Over the centuries, there have been three churches. The first church, know as ‘Great Church’, was completed in 360 under the reign of Constantius II in the Byzantine Empire. During riots in 606, it was almost entirely burned down. A second church was ordered by Theodosius II, which was inaugurated in 615. A fire started during the riots of the Nika Revolt in 532 burned the second Hagia Sophia to the ground. Several marble blocks from the second church remain and are presently situated outside the museum’s entrance. In 532, for the construction of the third church, Emperor Justinian I had material brought from all over the empire – such as Hellenistic columns from Ephesus, large stones from quarries in Egypt, green marble from Thessaly, black stone from the Bosporus region, and yellowstone from Syria. More than ten thousand people were employed to build the new church. The emperor, together with the Patriarch Menas, inaugurated the new basilica in 537. Ayasofya Hagia Sophia Hotels – Istanbul