On the second day, we made a visit to Hagia Sophia. We are aware of the huge crowd it draws as we have seen so previously. As we have not bought tickets, we were at the entrance gate well before the 9 o’clock opening time. We can afford so, as the hotel we are staying, Star Holiday Hotel is a stone’s throw away. Already, a handful of visitors were at the gate waiting for the ticket counter to open. Should you wish to avoid the crowd, you can purchase e-tickets here.
From the date of its construction in 537 AD until 1453, Hagia Sophia was a Greek Orthodox Christian church. The building was later converted into an Ottoman mosque from 1453 till 1931. Later it was declared as a museum by Atatürk in 1935. Hagia Sophia is also called Church of the Holy Wisdom or Church of the Divine Wisdom.
Hagia Sophia is famous for its massive dome and the innovative architectural design employed, is said to have changed the history of architecture. The dome, for example, is uniquely supported by four pendentives, the first building to use curving triangular vaults. Most of the 30 million mosaic tiles which covers the building’s interior, have recently been restored to the brilliance they were 1,500 years ago. Sadly, the interior is still filled with scaffolding from floor to ceiling as restoration works continue.
On the upper level, the ceiling are painted with designs with yellow background. Marble is extensively used in the building and at a particular section of the wall, you’ll see different shades and colors of marble used side-by-side. Much of the marble floor, due to it’s age, has noticeable cracks. Several sections are cordoned off due to the ongoing restoration works.
On the upper level of Hagia Sophia, there is a mysterious “Perspiring Column”, “Weeping Column“ or “Wishing Column” made of marble that stays moist. Legend says that this column has the power to cure illness. The column is one of 107 columns in the building. The pillar is partly covered in bronze, with a hole in the middle, and it is damp to the touch. The faithful who seek to heal their ailment would put their thumb into the hole and then rub it to the affected area of their body.
Below are pictures of objects seen inside Hagia Sophia. The pictures are captioned and if you require more information about it, do Google around. We went in on our own without guides, so we are deprived of further information about the objects we’ve seen.