6 Mart 2012 Salı

Turkey Istanbul / Byzantine Constantinople

Hagia Sophia

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.

Emperor Justinian built the Basilica cistern in 532 in the neighborhood of the Hagia Sophia. Constructed in the middle of the ancient city and not to lose any space they dug this cistern so that’s why it is also called the underground palace.Even today, many other buildings rest on these foundations. In this construction, columns and capitals from earlier monuments were used. 336 marble columns support the roof. The cistern is 70m wide, 140 m long and 8m high and was used for centuries as the main water supply for the city.However, some historians do not believe that this place was a cistern!!


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.

Great people watching

The name Chora, referring to its location originally outside of the walls, means suburb. The original church on this site was built in the early 5th century, and stood outside of the 4th century walls of Constantine the Great. However, when Theodosius II built his formidable land walls in 413–414, the church became incorporated within the city's defenses, but kept its the name as Chora.

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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