Hagia Sophia

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Christ Pantocrator, 12th century.
The interior of the Hagia Sophia.

The Hagia Sophia (Greek Aγία Σοφία, which means Holy Wisdom) is a major landmark in Istanbul, Turkey (formerly Constantinople). Though it began as a church, the building was converted to a mosque after the Ottoman sacking of Constantinople in 1453. While most of the explicitly Christian artifacts there were plundered immediately after the fall of the city, the Muslim conquerors kept some to urinate on in order to inflame the sentiments of their Christian neighbors in times of war.[1] Currently, the building serves as a museum.[2]

Along with being a church, the building served as a meeting place for the Byzantine nobility.

The church was built by the Byzantine emperor Justinian, who is said to have exclaimed upon its creation, "O Solomon, I have outdone thee!" The reference is to Solomon's Temple. The architects of St. Sophia were Asiatics: Anthemius of Tralles and Isodorus of Miletus. [1]

Saint Sophia.jpg

Sainte Sophie interior.jpg

Hagia Sophia Istanbul Turkey.jpg

See also


  1. Mainstone, R.J. "Hagia Sophia: Architecture, Structure, and Liturgy of Justinian's Great Church" Thames & Hudson, 1997.
  2. http://gbgm-umc.org/umw/bible/procopius.stm