Monday, August 27, 2007

Hagia Sophia -- Aya Sofya

Hagia Sophia (also spelled Haghia Sophia) is absolutely incredible. You simply must visit it if you ever get to Istanbul. Although three churches occupied the site, starting with one built by Constantius II in 360 CE, the current building dates to the reign of Justinian I in 537 CE.

I found much to be fascinated by at Aya Sofya, even though I'd visited before, and could have spent a whole week simply studying every detail of this remarkable work of art and spirit, and absorbing all its long, immense history. As there are many better pictures on the web that show the basilica and the famous mosaics, I've mostly decided to post here pictures of small details that caught my interest.

This sheep and date palm is a detail from the earlier church, built during the reign of Theodosius II around 415 CE. Unfortunately, this basilica was destroyed during the Nika revolt of 532 CE.

This panel with its motif of hearts caught my eye.

The light flooding in from these many high windows was quite beautiful.

One of the most famous mosaics, at the apse of the basilica, is of the Virgin and Child.

There was a remarkable variety of marble in many colors used in the building and decorating of the building.

Here a tourist sticks her thumb in a hole in the pillar of St. Gregory, which is supposed to grant wishes or healing powers.

From what I have read, these green pillars were supposedly brought from the ancient temple of Artemis at Ephesus, after its destruction, and recycled here.

I found the dolphins scattered throughout this building particular interesting. Notice the trident in the second picture between the two dolphins.

This spider web was located high in a corner on the higher level. I would love to know more about the meaning behind it, but haven't so far been able to find out much behind the symbolism.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love the pictures! I totally agree with you. Hagia Sophia is magnificent. When I visited, I noticed the dolphins but missed that spider web. Wish I knew what it meant.


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