Hagia SophiaJuly 8, 2016 in Turkey
And so it begins.
Hagia Sophia is a former Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica, later an Ottoman imperial mosque and now a museum.
Hagia Sophia, also called Church of the Holy Wisdom or Church of the Divine Wisdom, cathedral built at Constantinople now Istanbul in the 6th century it is the most important Byzantine structure and one of the world’s great monuments.
The Hagia Sophia was built in the remarkably short time of about six years, being completed in 537. The Hagia Sophia combines a longitudinal basilica and a centralized building in a wholly original manner, with a huge 32 metre main dome supported on pendentives and two semidomes, one on either side of the longitudinal axis. In plan the building is almost square. There are three aisles separated by columns with galleries above and great marble piers rising up to support the dome. The walls above the galleries and the base of the dome are pierced by windows, which in the glare of daylight obscure the supports and give the impression that the canopy floats on air.
The original church on the site of the Hagia Sophia is said to have been ordered to be built by Constantine I in 325 on the foundations of a pagan temple. His son, Constantius II, consecrated it in 360. It was damaged in 404 by a fire that erupted during a riot following the second banishment of St. John Chrysostom, then patriarch of Constantinople. It was rebuilt and enlarged by the Roman emperor Constans I. The restored building was rededicated in 415 by Theodosius II. The church was burned again in the Nika insurrection of January 532, a circumstance that gave Justinian I an opportunity to envision a splendid replacement.The structure now standing is essentially the 6th-century edifice, although an earthquake caused a partial collapse of the dome in 558 and restored 562 and there were two further partial collapses, after which it was rebuilt to a smaller scale and the whole church reinforced from the outside. It was restored again in the mid 14th century. For more than a millennium it was the Cathedral of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. It was looted in 1204 by the Venetians and the Crusaders on the Fourth Crusade.
Although many scholars have studied Hagia Sophia over the year the building has never been completely documented. New discoveries may yet be made. In the 1990s, during emergency repairs on the dome, workers uncovered graffiti that had been scrawled by tenth-century repairmen, imploring God for protection as they worked from scaffolds 150 feet above the floor.
Daunting work must be done for Hagia Sophia to survive for future centuries. Old buildings like Hagia Sophia are ignored until there’s an emergency. They’re put back together and then forgotten about until the next emergency. Meanwhile, there is a continual deterioration.
Huge sections of ceiling are peeling and flaking, stained by water seepage and discolored by age and uneven exposure to light. Acres of stucco must be replaced. Windows must be repaired, new glass installed, warped frames replaced. Hundreds of marble panels, now grime-encrusted, must be cleaned. Irreplaceable mosaics must somehow be restored and protected.
The building is lovely but you can see the wear ands tear of the centuries.Read more