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Hagia Sophia Museum Guide with All Facts

-Attractions June 7, 2016
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Do you know Hagia Sophia defination what is? We made a Great Hagia Sophia Museum Guide for tourists. I think this curch is the most famous church and also museum in the world? Do you agree my opinion? Yes or no… We hava already known this structure is very famous around of world. If you came Istanbul once a time, You have to see it. So, Do you want to know Hagia Sophia. Lets know together and I have to say something; sorry for my English.

Hagia Sophia defination: This church consired by many authers and historians to be the eight wonder of the world. This structure one of the few strectures of such huge dimensions to have survived for so long. It is masterpiece of architecture. Hagia Sophia built between 532 and 537 at the age of justinian I (527-565) is among the foremost works in the world of architecture and art history. And maybe you know what are the names architects of Hagia Sophia. Hagia Sophia architects were Anthemios of Tralles (Aydın) and Isidoros of Miletos.

Hagia Sophia, and unequalled masterpice symbol of Istanbu., was erected by Constantinus, the son of the founder of the city, the East Roman Emperor Constantine, in the second half of the 4th centruy. Its architectural mastery was far ehead of its time and unmatched for 1000 years.

Originally, the name of Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya in Turkish) was mistranslated as Saint Sophia. The Basilica was not dedicated to a saint name Sophia, but rather to Holy Wisdom. Two smaller, earlier basilicas with the same name had been at this site, where once stood a pagan temple.Constantinus, son of Constantine the Great, had ordered the construction of the firt Haiga Sophia, a small strecture with a wooden roof, in the second half of the forth century. Although some sources attribute the honor to the father, no house of worship was built during his reign. The first basilica of Hagia Sophia was destroyed by fire in the year 404, and the second basilica, which was of somewhat larger dimensions, was buit in 415. It served Christians for more than a century until 532 when it was burned down during the Nika Revolt, an uprising aganist the goverment of Emperor of Justinian that ended over 1040.000 40 thousand deaths and the destruction of great many buildings.

Justinian, who suppressed the uprising with great difficulty ordered the immediate construction of temple “like nothing seen since the day Adam or to be seen in the future” on the remains of second Hagia Sophia. He made all nccessary means available to the Hagia Sophia arctihect Anthemius of Tralles and the mathematician Isidorus of Milotos, who were to prepare the Hagia Sophia plans and supervise the construction, and placed all the riches of the state treasury at their disposal. Finally in 537, great festivites marked the dedication of the largest curh of the Christian World.

The general Hagia Sophia’s plan was the same as that  used in many earlier basilicas. However, this did not simplify the design of Hagia Sophia dome in the 6th century, a Roman system for covering large cylindrical structures with a single  Hagia Sophia dome was avaible to the architects, but a huge, centrally located circular cupola on top of a rectangular structure was to be tired for the first time. Work progressed while monks chanted prayers seeking divine protection. Marble pieces and columns of diffrent shapes and sizes from anicent times were brought in from ruins all around the empire and used  in the building. There are many stories about the orign of this materials, especially the columns, but none of these can be verified.

Although Hagia Sophia was conceived and built by Justinian as an imperial prestige building. It was lon regarded with awe as a holy symbol, for it seemed impossible to the people in those days that such a building – of a size unsurpassed for 1.000 years, requiring enormous resources an d using prviously unknown technology- could be constructed without divine assistance.

Although it was created in the 6th century as a Byzantine work, Hagia Sophia is actually an experiment in the Roman architectural tradition, without precedent or later imitation. The contrast between the exterior and Hagia Sophia interior of the building as well as the colassal dome are lagacies of the Roman era. The exterior is not aesthetically pleasing, and the architectural elements are not well propotioned. The exterior was treated simply as a shell, and does not conform to the interior, which has splendour of a palace, the grandeur of an imperial building.

But Hagia Sophia was a great achivement, especially for its time, and I must have bee the magnitude of his succes that excited Emperor Justinian during the basilica’s dedication to the point of drving his chariot into the building and, after praising the Lord for judging him worthy os a such and achievement, shouting that he had surpassed King Solomon. Withn a few years, monateries grew up in the area and the basilica soon became a religious centre and the focal point of the perpetual struggle betwwen the Byzantine Emperors and the Eastern Church. And this part is article some kind of the Hagia Sophia ap world history a little bit.

Hagia Sophia Mosaics and Dome

I think, we should examine the Hagia Sophia art, mosaics and dome on this part of article. Because, İt’s realy see to worth it. At least you must grab closer and you have to look it. Actually, I don’t know definetely what I shoul say. Because some kind of explain to hard… I think best way; lets learn together.

The Empreror, who could not hide his excitiment during the opening ceremony, dived into the churh with his chariot, and he started thanking God and declaiming his superiority to Prophet Solomon, thinking that he had built a greater place of worship. Despite being unprecedented to that date, the structure had some vital falws. The most important one of these was the size of the Hagia Sophia dome and the pressure that it applied to its sides. The architectural knowledge, which directed the pressure to the base of the structure, was not yet developed at this time. The walls were forced to open outward and as a result the dome collapsed in 558. A second dome was built higher and smaller; despite this, half of the second dome also collapsed in both the 10th and then the 14 centruies.

A great deal of money had to be spent on Hagia Sophia for it to survive the centruies. For instance,  when Sultan Mehmed II conquared the city in 1453, the building was in a state of ruin, as the East Roman Empire at the time did not have the finances to take care of it. After the conquest, it was renovated and converted in to mosque. The buttress walls, added by the great architect Mimar Sinan in the 16th century, the renovation by the Fossati brothers in the middle of the 19th century, renovations in the 1930s, and the iron enclosure of the dome are amon the the most important restoration attempts. Hagia Sophia served the people of the same God as a church for 1093 years and a mosque 480 years before it was converted to a museum between 1930 and 1935. The mosaics, which have had the layer of plaster, applied by the Ottomans, removed, are among the most important East Roman works of Hagia Sophia art.

Hagia Sophia museum entrance within the courtyard is through the orginal door, still being used after so many centuries. Near the entrance it is possible to see the remains of the former structure. The outher narthex is connected to the inner narthex via five doors, while the inner narthex  is connected to the main section by nine doors. The high middle door is the emperor’s entrance. The mosaic panel on the top was made in the 9th century. The figureless mosaics on the ceiling of the inner narthex are originals from the Justinian Era. In the main section of the building, the visitor is welcome by a magnificent space. The effect of the dome can be sensed from the first moment one enters the building. It hangs over the whole structure and encloses it. The walls and the ceilings are covered with mosaics and an explosion of color. The three tones of mosaics are an indication of three periods of restoration that the dome underwent. With the greatness of its diameter and height, this was the largest dome of its time and currently is still one of the greatest. Due to the restorations, the dome is not a full circle. The diameter from north to south measures 31.87 meters, while that from east to west is 30,87 meters. The dome is 55-60 meters high. The four pillars on which the dome rests have four angel figures with covered faces. The area of Hagia Sophia is 7,570 square meters.

The capitals of the Hagia Sophia columns are characteristic and classical elements of 6th century Byzantine architecture. The deeply carved marble creates a play of light and shadow. The porphyry columns in the corners, the middle columns made out of green marble from Thessalonica, and the capitals which are made out of white marble with rich engravings are imressive. One can imagine Hagia Sophia in its original form as a church or as a mosque, taking one away from the empty museum of today.

There is also one thing about this amazing building. İt was made so many years ego. But, Hagia sophia art is one of the best art in whole world. If you interested art, art history definetely you shoul see it. Because it can be helpful for improve your -actually I don’t know what I should say this part of article – perspective or understand to art. If you come Istanbul, ıf you come to Hagia Sophia at least you should examine Hagia Sophia art. İt won’t take your too much time.

Hagia Sophia Architecture

During Byzantine period, it served as a church and during the Ottoman period, it served as a mosque and today since 1935, it continues to function as a museum. Today’s Hagia Sophia is the third one constructed at its place. The remains of the first structure could not reach today and the remains of the second structure found in 1935 are by the entrance.

Because the third Hagia Sophia is a very bold one for its age, it brought together some architectural deficiencies with itself; the eastern part of the dome was collapsed in 558 and one of the semidomes collapsed in the earthquake of 869. The structure that was also damaged in 1344 earthquake was only repaired through special taxes and donations. Hagia Sophia went through the danger of collapsing all together during Ottoman times, but managed to reach until today with the repairs and support footings made by Mimar Sinan.

At the center, the gorgeous dome covers the naos with its half domes on its axis; its main architectural features are two naves on each side, a boisterous apse, inner and outer narthex following the entrance. From the west, on emay proceed to the plain, non-colored outer narthex and from here to the inner narthex where the ceiling is covered with non-figured mosaics. The door at the north of inner narthex opens to the  platform that goes to upper gallery. The door on the south is the exit door named Horologion.

The main location of Hagia Sophia is 73,50 x 69;50 meters. The dome sitting on the pendantives carried by four big arches is 55,60 meters hig and has a diameter of about 31 meters. Inner parts of Hagia Sophia are ornamented with 107 columns, 40 of which are upstairs and there are monograms of Emperor Justinian I and Empress Theodora on some of the headings of the column.

Besides its architecture, Hagia Sophia is also famous for its decoration. Because the mosaics with figures were ruined during Iconoclasm period (726-843), the mosaics that can be seen are dated after the Iconoclasm period, 9th – 12th centuries. The mosaic panel over Emperor’s Gate which is the largest door of the inner narthex dates back to 9th century. On Horologion Gate on the South of inner narthex, there is a mosaic panel from 10th century on which Constantine the Great presents Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus presents a model af the city and Justinian I  presents the model of the church. Hagia Sophia receives daylight from 40 windows on the skirts of its dome. Inside of the dome is ornamented with a magnificent calligraphy and there is the figure of four winged angel over the four pendantives that it relies on. The cubes at the entrance of middle location were brought from Bergama (Pergamon) during the period of Murad III (1574-1595) and they are of Hellenistic age massive marble. The giant plates with a diameter of 7,5 meters hanged on the walls of the gallery were written by calligrapher Kazasker Mustafa İzzet Efendi in the middle of 19th century. It is assumed that the depictions of Baby Jesus and Mary on the semidome of the apse were the first mosaics made after Iconoclasm period. Also on the arch of the apse, the panel of Prime Angel Gabriel which is partly damaged, the royal loge made by Fossati on 1849 on the left of the apse, the pulpit on the right that dates back to 16th century are worth seeing. Valuable mosaics can also be seen at the galleries of Hagia Sophia. One may mount this section by a spiral platform from the south of the inner narthex. On the floor of the galleries on the north, there is the mosaic of Emperor Alexandros (912-913). It is known as Empress Lodge because the empress watched religious ceremonies in the middle gallery coreved with vaults over the narthex.

One may enter the south gallery from a marble door named Gate of Heaven. After the door, just in the right, there is Deesis Mosaic that dates back to 12th century with a size of 6×4,7 meters and it is one of the most famous mosaics of Hagia Sophia. At the end of the gallery, there are two more mosaic panels that show two emperors and the empress with Mary and Jesus.

The Ottoman Period Of Hagia Sophia

During the last phase of the Ottoman Empire Hagia Sophia was frequently used on special occasions. The structure has managed to survive until today as a result of Ottoman tolarance. As a result of the Islamic belief system, which bans images of living things, the Muslims coeted the mosaics and the images with plaster, but they never destroyed them. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque on the day after the conquest of the city. The first Friday player was led by Sultan Mehmed II himself. In order to make the building suitable as a mosque, there was a great deal of work to be carried out to clean the dilapidated building. A mihrab (central prayer niche) and a minbar (pulpit) were added at later dates.

Four minarets were added to the mosque after a certain period of time. The firt minaret is on the east side of the mosque and is reddish in color. It was buil by Sultan Mehmed.  The minaret that is in the direction of Topkapı Palace was buit by Beyazid II. The other minarets were constructed by the architect Sinan on the order of Murat III. With the restoration work by Sinan all of the minarets began to support the central location of the mosque simultaneously. That is to say, the minarets were attached to the foundation stone, and the collapse of one of the minarets could trigger the collpase of the main dome. Many Ottoman sultans have made contrubitions to this structure.

The hanging calligraphic inscriptions of “Allah”, “Muhammed,” “Abu Bakr,” “Umar,” “Uthman,” “Ali,” “Hasan,” and “Hüseyin,” written on leather, measuring 7.5 meters in dimeater, were executed by the famous calligrapher and prominent statesman Kazasker Mustafa Pasha, who living during the reign of Mahmud II; these signify the importance of Hagia Sophia as a mosque.

Two marble amphorae dating from the Helenistic period were brought from Bergama in the 16th century and set up on either side of the inside of the door. In the northern nave one can find the “sweating column.” In the middle of the column, framed in bronze, is a hole. People considered the hole miraclous and would rub their thumbs it while making a wish. The column is, therefore, also known as the “miraculous pillar,” the “crying pillar,” or “the pillar in which Khidr (a holy person) placed his finger.”

The famous Ottoman traveler Evliya Çelebi wrote that when Hagia Sophia was being converted into a mosque, a mixture of soil from the Mecca and zamzam water was added to the material for plastering the wall in front of this column. The dampness of this mixture caused the column to sweat.

According to another saying , when the church was transformed into a mosque, the qibla was slightly off from the direction of Ka’aba. It is said that Khidr came and corrected the direction by holding onto this column. Thus, it is believed that the hole and the shapes that resemble a handbrint around the hole, belong to him. As a result of the importance of this building, many government officials and local notables are buried in the gardens, as well as sultans. The tombs of Mustafa I, Sultan İbrahim, Sultan Selim II, Sultan Murad III and Sultan Mehmed III are located here.

 

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