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Turkey´s Wonders of the World

6/20/2010

Hagia Sophia in Istanbul

Hagia Sofia, which is Greek for The Church of Holy Wisdom, started life as a Byzantine church before becoming an Ottoman mosque and is now a museum in Istanbul. Technically it was actually three churches, rebuilt twice after riots, before the third church was converted into a mosque. 

Famous for its massive dome, its architectural features mark it out as one of the most advanced buildings of its time. It is 33 meters wide and 54 meters tall and around the base are 40 windows which let in the light.

The religious venue has seen major structural changes in its time. Nothing remains of the first Hagia Sophia, built in the fourth century by Constantine the Great, the founder of the city of Constantinople. And following its conversion to a mosque, in keeping with the Islamic religion, the church underwent dramatic change, both on the outside as minarets and buttresses changed the look of the church forever, and inside as statues were removed and faces in mosaics covered up. 

Efforts are now underway to restore the mosaic tiles to their former radiance.

Pictures of Hagia Sophia

See our sister website Turkey For You for more on the Hagia Sophia

More on historical Turkey: Turkey’s lost treasures


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The Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus


1. Turkey´s Wonders of the World
2. The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
3. The Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus
4. Hagia Sophia in Istanbul


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