The Hagia Sophia, Istanbul's most stunning landmark and one of the world's most awe-inspiring landmarks, is celebrating its 1,600th birthday. On this day in the year A.D., Constantine the Great's wish came true. After six years of building, Hagia Sophia was consecrated in 537.
One of Istanbul's most well-known and significant monuments is Hagia Sophia. The former church, mosque, and now museum, built on a hallowed place since Byzantium's days, offers a wealth of history. Built as a church in the 6th century, it has been the home of the Eastern Orthodox Church of Constantinople for over 900 years.
The landmark is an impressive structure, with its soaring dome and intricate mosaics. It is considered one of Istanbul's most popular tourist attractions, and visitors can explore its many galleries and corridors to learn about its history and significance.
The Hagia Sophia ("Holy Wisdom"; Latin: Sancta Sophia or Sancta Sapientia; Turkish: Ayasofya) is a former Byzantine cathedral, later a mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul. The structure is one of the finest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. It was the largest cathedral globally for nearly 1,000 years until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520. Also thought of as one of Istanbul's most popular tourist attractions.
A symbol of both romance and conquest, Hagia Sophia was built by some of history's most talented architects and engineers. Also, it is a national symbol of Turkey and a World Heritage Site designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.
There are traces of both Ottoman and Byzantine architecture in the Hagia Sophia. The Christian mosaics that covered up by Islamic Ottoman emperors as seen by visitors. Even today, 350 years after its completion, the Hagia Sophia continues to inspire architects across the globe.
In some ways, this World Heritage site serves as a living testament to the Byzantine Empire and the fundamental concept of a church. Its incomparable beauty stems from its one-of-a-kind combination of mosaics and architectural components. Replication nor reconstruction is quite impossible using modern technology.
Though the landmark may have lost some of its original religious symbolism by now, it still retains substantial cultural and historical importance. It continues to shape Istanbul's identity centuries after its construction.