Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Holy Wisdom Hagia Sophia

  On Wednesday, September 19 we toured the Hagia Sophia (Greek for Holy Wisdom). The present building was rebuilt by order of the Emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora in 532. According to our guide, it took 10,000 slaves five years to complete. After the Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople, as Istanbul was known then, the decision was made by the Sultan to tear down the cathedral and built a mosque in its place. However, his mother was a Christian and out of respect for her; he left the building standing but covered many of the Christian symbols and mosaics. After Turkey became a republic in 1923, the building was briefly closed and then reopened as a museum in 1935. There have been some efforts made to uncover the mosaics.

The dome.

Twelve windows over portraits of 6/12 of the disciples. The rest of the portraits are on the other side of the "room". Not all of the portraits have been restored.  There is no public access to the level they are on either.

There were quite a few of the these carved panels. I liked the hearts.

There are red and green pillars which our guide said were colours associated in the Byzantine church with holiness; although this looks purple to me.

Us on the main floor.

This enormous jar was used to hold olive oil for lighting the lamps.  There are two jars.

Johanna and Nicole outside the baptistery.

One of two sets of stairs leading into or out of the baptistery.

Jesus (centre) with the Emperor and Empress. 
Do you see the ancient fish symbol of Christianity?
A restored mosaic of Mary and Jesus.
I love the doors in Turkish buildings.

Cam beside the marble doorway.


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