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Holy wisdom… a look inside Haghia Sofia

One of the highlights of Turkey’s capital Istanbul is the stunning Haghia Sofia (Aya Sofya in Turkish). Hagia Sofia – the “church of holy wisdom” – is more than 1400 years old and it’s history can be traced back to the Byzantine period. A church was built on the site as early as 537AD by the Emporer Justinian.

In the 15th century the Ottomans, led by Sultan Mehmed II, conquered Constantinople and converted what was by now an important Orthodox church into the Aya Sofya Mosque. The Ottamans added the destinctive features of any mosque, the mihrab, minbar, and four minarets. Hagia Sofia would be the model followed by the later mosques in Istanbul.

In 1935 the buildings role as one of the most important religious buildings in Istanbul came to and end and was converted into a museum by the founder of the Republic of Turkey – Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

This diverse history of Hagia Sofia gives it an amazing mix of Christian and Islamic architecture.

Here are some more photographs of the stunning Haghia Sofia in Istanbul – once the cathedral of Constantinople, then a mosque from the 15th century…

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