Interesting Facts About Hagia Sophia

November 26, 2018

Destroyed By Roits

It was built in 360 CE by Constantinople. The church was in honor of Roman Emperor Constantius II. Initially, the church was built from wood but it was burned down in 404 CE during roits. Emperor Theodosus II rebuilt but it was again burnt in Nika Revolt.

Rebuilt by Great Byzantine

Emperor Justinian rebuilt Hagia Sophia in 537 CE and opened after five year of Nika Revolt.

Hagia Sophia-Several Names

Initially, Hagia Sophia was known as Great Church. It got its name from the greatness of the structure. It was named as Hagia Sophia after second reconstruction. The word Hagia Sophia means Holy Wisdom. In Ottoman era, it was named Aya Sophia and then Aysofya Muzesi.

The Story Of The Dome

The original dome was destroyed by an earthquake in 558 CE. The dome is 160 feet high and has a diameter of 131 feet. This is one of the grand feature of the Hagia Sophia. The design of the church was by architects Anthemios of Tralles and Isidoros of Miletos. When it was rebuilt it was raised to the height of 182 feet and the walls were also reinforced. The weight of the dome is supported by smaller domes, arcades and arches.

Use of Ancient Material In Construction

After the destruction of the church by earthquake, material from Temple of Artemis in Ephesus was used for interior of the church. some material might have also come from ancient sites in Baalbeck and Pergamon

Byzantine Art And Architecture

Byzantine is known for centuries long tradition of art and architecture. The style was famously came into being after infusion of Greek, Roman and other Eastern traditions. Justinian started reconstruction of the cathedral which included the massive dome and abundant mosaics. Mosaics covered nearly all surfaces. Many tourist the place to study art and enjoy this historical architectural structure.

Iconoclasm of Hagia Sophia

The word iconoclas means ‘image breaking’ or ‘smashing of the images’. This particular started in 726 CE and many religious images were not allowed on the structure except the cross. In this particular era, mosaics and paintings with religious icon were removed from Hagia Sophia

Captured By 90 Year Old

Interestingly, Hagia Sophia was conquered during the fourth crusade by Alexius IV. In 1203, he was able to convince the crusader to help him in taking the throne of Byzantne Empire. But later he was killed by powerful coup and led to rise of Enrico Dandolo who was chief magistrate of Republic of Venice. He was 90 year old and blind ruler. Many mosaics and things were taken away to Italy. Dandolo was buried at Hagia Sophia in 1205 CE.

Church As A Mosque

This place was converted into mosque at the end of 1453 CE under Ottoman Emprie. It was looted of its treasures but was later restored under Mehmed and was converted into a mosque. Islamic art was also incorported in the building. A fountain. minarets, schools, kitchen, library and many other buildings were added to this church.

Sultan made sure that Christian Mosaics were restored and were not destroyed. Many mosaics were uncovered and later restored too.

Weeping Colums As Healing Powers

According to folklore there are wishing columns in the northwesr portion of the church in one of 107 columns of the building. This pillar is covered in bronze with a hole in the middle. It is believed that it has blessings of St. Gregory and now mnay followers visit it in search of divine healing.

Hagia Sophia As Museum

The place was converted into Museum by Mustafa Kemal in 1934. The restoration is continuosly happening and it attracts thousands of tourist every day.

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