Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Hagia Sophia...

Getting the right angle to photograph a famous building like Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (medieval Constantinople) isn't easy on foot!   I was sure we had a better shots than these, but here are the ones we did get.  The Byzantine Emperor Justinian ordered Hagia Sophia (the Church of Holy Wisdom) to be built in the 6th century after a previous church had been destroyed by rioters.    This first picture was taken as we were waiting to go inside.  There were lots of helpful guides wanting to show us around, but they listened when I explained that I like to dream, so we were left to our own devices.   In the foreground is the ablutions fountain (used after the Byzantine period).  The minarets were also added later, at the time when Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque.
This next picture shows the galleries inside, and gives an idea of the space, which is vast.   From the floor to the top of the dome, Hagia Sophia is incredibly beautiful.   The walls gleam with gold and are covered with mosaics in every colour of the rainbow.  There are gorgeous tiles, on the floors, on the walls.   Glass hanging lamps are suspended on chains from somewhere in the domes.    I had been there years ago, and this time as soon as I walked in I knew the heroine (Princess Theodora) of Betrothed to the Barbarian had to be married there.     Hagia Sophia is now a museum, and when it was used as a church, the building must have rung with the chanting of monks, the air would have been smoky with incense...

And here's another photgraph of the interior, showing the galleries from another angle.  To the left of the picture there's a roundel with Islamic script on it, it comes from the time when Hagia Sophia was a mosque...

This last photograph show Hagia Sophia in the distance.  We were waiting to catch a tram.
If you would like to see some better pictures of Hagia Sophia, there are some on Wikipedia.   They are much sharper than mine, and prove that my photography could do with improvement!  The visit was an inspiration, and lots of dreaming went on, both during and after the visit!

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