/ / Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia, or Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, is a famous monument of architecture of the Byzantine Empire and a symbol of its prosperity. Its construction began in 324 when Constantine in commemoration of his absolute rule over the Roman Empire, and lasted 13 years. In the result of confrontation between the adherents of different interpretations of the teachings of Christ, the Church passed from hand to hand. With 360 for 380 years, the building of Hagia Sophia was owned by Arians, one of the areas of Christianity, until Theodosius the convocation of the first Council of bishops in Constantinople, where it was condemned Arianism. The Emperor himself entered the Cathedral of the new rector of St. Gregory the theologian.

The temple safely operated until 404, when during the riots were burned. The restored Cathedral has stood for about 10 years and was again destroyed by fire. By decree of the Emperor Theodosius II in 415 BC, in its place was built a Basilica. During the popular uprising against the rule of Justinian I in 532, the Basilica was burned. About the temples prior to Hagia Sophia, you can get an idea only for the ruins discovered during the excavations.

The Byzantine period

Forty days after the fire, the Emperor Justinian ordered the construction of a new Church. For the expansion site was bought and cleared away from buildings and nearby areas. Every day on the construction site was used by about 10 thousand workers under the guidance of the best architects of the time. For the construction were brought the best materials of the ancient churches of Rome and Ephesus sent columns of porphyry and marble.

The decoration of the temple was used silver and gold: the story of the pilgrim, Archbishop of Novgorod - on the altar of the cross "in two human growth," gold lampstands and other precious paraphernalia. The wealth of the temple of the imagination, gave rise to legends about the involvement of angels and virgin in its construction. Still - for the construction of the Cathedral were expended the revenues of the Byzantine Empire for three years. Finally, in 537, after the consecration of the Patriarch of Constantinople a Mine, the temple was inaugurated. However, the long-suffering Cathedral was again partially destroyed, this time by earthquakes. To support it was installed poles, the dome was built new.

St. Sophia Cathedral is famous for a remarkable event - the presentation in July 1054 otlichitelnaya letters from the Pope to Patriarch of Constantinople Michael, that is the beginning of dividing the Church into Catholic and Orthodox.

Not a Church, not a mosque, and a Museum

The last Christian service was held in the temple in the night from 28 to 29 may 1453. During the Liturgy, the Cathedral was seized by the Turks, the entire congregation inside was killed, the precious decoration looted. Sultan Mehmed 30 may of the same year entered the Hagia Sophia, as in the mosque. To it was added four minarets, mosaics and frescoes on the walls of finished plaster. In the middle of the 16th century the building was attached to the buttresses, Utilitie appearance, but saved it from destruction. The restoration of a mosque was held in 1847-1849 gg, to protect the building from collapse.

The first President of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Ataturk appropriated the mosque Hagia Sophia a status of a Museum. Wall paintings and mosaics were cleaned of layers of plaster, in 1936, during excavations the remains of the original basilicas of the time of Constantine and Theodosius. Since 2006, the Museum allowed to hold Muslim ceremonies to staff in a specially designated room.

Today, the Museum consists of frescoes and a mosaic image of our lady of the emperors Constantine, Justinian, Alexander. The visitor brought the bed of the Sultan, madrasa, Minbar and the inscription on the oval shields - quotes from the Koran. The architecture of the Cathedral is completely preserved in its original form. The interior in the form of mosaics on the walls, the domes, the floor is in good condition. Separate sites are considered "cold window" copper-covered "weeping column", "runic inscription" left by the Vikings.


  • Location: Hagia Sophia Square, Sultanahmet Fatih/Istanbul
  • Nearest transport stop: "Sultanahmet"
  • Official website: http://ayasofyamuzesi.gov.tr
  • Opening hours: daily from 9:00 to 19:00 from 15 April to 30 September, from 9:00 to 17:00 from October 1 to April 14. Day off Monday and all the days of the Holy month of Ramadan.
  • Tickets: adult - 30 Turkish Lira, for children up to 12 years free admission.