Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

October 2017

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.

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia from the outside.

Hagia Sophia

Crowd lining up outside to enter Hagia Sophia.    Credit : reiendaa.blogspot.com

Hagia Sophia

Line building up at the ticket office after 9 am. We were the first few to enter.

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

Entrance to Hagia Sophia.

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia floor plan.

Hagia Sophia

A more elaborate floor plan of Hagia Sophia. Credit:fajrin-thelionheart.blogspot

Hagia Sophia.

The main entrance into Hagia Sophia. Atop the 2nd door is a mosaic penal of Christ & Leo.

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.

Hagia Sophia

The main dome of Hagia Sophia.

Hagia Sophia

Floor-to-ceiling scaffolding obstructing views.

Hagia Sophia

Far end of Hagia Sophia opposite the entrance.

Hagia Sophia

Another view of a section of the dome.

Hagia Sophia

Chandelier hanging from the roof.

Hagia Sophia

The ‘mimbar’ or rostrum from which sermons are delivered. Mosaic panel of Madona & child on the dome.

Hagia Sophia

The Library of Mahmud I.

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.

Hagia Sophia

Gallery or aisle on the upper level. Beautifully decorated ceiling.

Hagia Sophia

The intricate design of the ceiling.

Hagia Sophia

A pillar went wrong? Yes, it’s slanting.

Hagia Sophia

The intricate scaffolding spoiling the views.

Hagia Sophia

View from the upper level.

Hagia Sophia

Visitors starting to build up on the lower level.

Hagia Sophia

One of the aisle on the upper level with a serene mood. Notice the different colored marble slabs on the wall.

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.

Hagia Sophia

The “Perspiring Column” or “Weeping Column“ or “Wishing Column” on the upper level.

Hagia Sophia

Deisis mosaic penal.

Hagia Sophia

Komnenos mosaic panel.

Hagia Sophia

Zoe mosaic panel.

Hagia Sophia

Sunu mosaic panel.

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.

Hagia Sophia

Synod Decision.

Hagia Sophia

Sarcophagus of the Empress.

Hagia Sophia

Porphyry Altar.

Hagia Sophia

Snake Patterned Pool (Libation Vessel).

Hagia Sophia

Tombstone of Commandant Enrico Dandolo.

Hagia Sophia

Marble Jars.

Hagia Sophia

Bell of Hagia Sophia.