Hagia Sophia served Christian faith for a thousand years, Islam for five hundred years, and has been open to visitors as a museum for 75 years...
In etymological dictionaries, Sophia means wisdom, hagia means divine or holy, so the church was not dedicated to a saint but to divine wisdom. Byzantines thought that its impressive dome had been suspended from the heaven by a golden chain. Europe had to wait a thousand years to be able to built something similar to Hagia Sophia.
The Basilica Cistern is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul.
This small church in this tranquil neighborhood Edirnekapı, is considered one of the most beautiful examples of a Byzantine church. Like Hagia Sophia, it was build as a church, converted in to a mosque by Ottomans, today a museum.
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The Byzantine minister of treasury Theodore Metochites endowed the church with much of its fine mosaics and frescoes between 1315 and 1321. The mosaic-work is the finest example of a period called late Byzantine Renaissance. It was well cared for by the Ottomans and all the paintings and mosaics were covered with plaster or whitewash.By the time of the Republic, the mosque was converted into a museum and since that time, the Byzantine Institute of the American Boston University is working of the restoration of all the inner decoration.
In the mosaics and frescoes, the lives of Jesus and Mary and scenes of the bible are depicted, it is like Christian history is told in a comic book. These famous mosaics and frescoes are amongst the best preserved in the Byzantine art; the rich collection rivals the one in Ravenna. You might have read about the life cycle of Jesus Christ, but what about Virgin Mary?
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