Aya Sofya Tk, Hagia Sofia Gk, Sancta Sophia Ltn, Church of Divine Wisdom Eng.

3rd Completed 537 by Emp Justinian r 527-65 on site of Byzantium’s Acropolis, and site of two earlier ASs
1st AS a basilica w timber roof, completed 360 by Constantinius, son and successor of Constantine r 324-37 , burned down 404.
2nd AS built by Theodosius II r 408-50 in 415, destroyed in 532 in riot.

Greatest church in Christendom till 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmet the Conqueror, converted to a mosque.
1934, Ataturk claimed it as a museum.

Justinian enter first time..Glory to God that I have been judged worthy of such a work.
Architects Anthemeus of Tralles, Isodorus of Miletus.
Enormous dome with apparent lack of support.
30 million gold mosaic tiles covered dome’s interior.
Rebuilt after dome came down during earthquake 559.
And several times down the years.

Dome is 30m diam, supported by 40 ribs of hollow bricks resting on 4 pillars concealed in walls.

Originally great dome, semidomes, n and s tympana, vaults of narthex, aisles and galleries all covered with gold mosaics.

After conquest, conversion to mosque, mosaics covered with plaster. Then uncovered in 1847, painted over and restored upon deconsecration of the mosque
In apse, mosaic of Madonna and Child, nearby archangel Gabriel.
Above Imperial door Christ as Pantocrator, Ruler of All. He holds book with inscription Peace be with you. I am the Light of the World. And to his right an emperor –probably Leo VI-prostrates himself.

On exit of inner narthex, above door, late 10c mosaic, Constantine the Great on right, offering Mary, who holds JC, the city of Constantinople. On left is Emp Justinian offering Aya Sofya.

Upstairs, south gallery, Deesis Mosaic. –The Last Judgement from early 14th c.
Virgin Mary on left, Christ center, John the Baptist on right.

At east end of south gallery mosaic of Empress Zoe r 1028-50 with husband Constantine IX Monomachus an eminent senator. Done when Empress was 50 with new husband Romanus III Argyrus. On his death face changed for next husband Michael IV. He died 8 years later, Zoe and sister Theodora ruled-badly, so Zoe, at 64, then married Constantine.
Inscription reads Constantine, by the Divine Christ, Faithful King of the Romans.

And Mary holding Christ Child with Emp John Comnenus II –Johannes the Good- to left and Empress Eirene to right with son Alexius


Aya Irini Hagia Eirene Church of Divine Peace
Site of pagan temple, early Christian church, present one built by Justinian in 540s.

Church was retained in grounds when Mehmet Conqueror began building Topkapi Palace.

Used as an arsenal, artillery museum, now occasionally as concert hall.






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Archangel Gabriel mosaic on arch of north bema, St Sophia

Kariye Church of St Saviour the Anastasis Harrowing of Hell
Apse fresco in the south parecclesion