inside of istanbul – hagia sophia

“If one had but a single glance to give the world,
one should gaze on Istanbul.”
Alphonse de Lamartinehs-in-the-sunshine

When I entered Hagia Sophia “Holy Wisdom” I got a feeling that building was … like a tired very beautiful old lady (maybe a bit like myself) that are still going strong. Major restoration is ongoing just now inside. Today called by the Turks – Ayasofya Museum. Entrance fee 40TRY and I think it was well worth the money and they need every penny of it to make this fantastic landmark stand in its glory. This building needs a lot of tender, love and care for all future.  Money that I gladly parted from. hs-window

I gave my Tuesday to Hagia Sophia, a quite bitter day with wind and rain hanging in the air … it arrived was I walked back to my hotel. hs-lamps

Noticed that at night less of the major mosques wasn’t lite up as normal .. and in daylight, I notice they were all covered up for restoration. Also, my favourite house, the yellow … the tourist police station at Yerebatan Caddesi street is now getting total restorations by the government. A female suicide bomber blew herself up at this police station in January 2015.

Hagia Sophia was built in 500 as a Christian church and today a museum, totally in marble inside … and very worn. At the same time, we here in Sweden was living in caves and hit each other over the head with sticks. It just amazes me how far advance  some other cultures compared to ours.hs-rain-on-its-way

Personal I think Hagia Sophia is more impressive on the outside than the Blue Mosque. An absolute stunning building both day and night. It was also, the inspiration for the Blue Mosque. evening-delight-2

Designers; Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles

Christian Church Cathedral (537–1054)
Greek Orthodox Cathedral (1054–1204)
Roman Catholic Cathedral (1204–1261)
Greek Orthodox Cathedral (1261–1453)
Imperial Mosque (1453–1931)
Museum (1935–present)hs-worn-out-threshold

More than it’s so impressive inside and build in marble … I found the ageing and jaded so beautiful.

The church was richly decorated with mosaics throughout the centuries. They either depicted the Virgin Mother, Jesus, saints, or emperors and empresses. Other parts were decorated in a purely decorative style with geometric patterns. The mosaics however for their most part date to after the end of the Byzantine Iconoclasm of 800 AD.

And instead of stairs up to the galleries they had made a ramp …. in 600’s, very clever. The stones were so worn and that it very slippery to walk upwards. Going down a new ramp is made and safer.

The marble Lustration urn, the enormous urn around 2 metres high, is one of a matching pair carved from single blocks of marble during the Hellenistic period. They were taken from Pergamon to Istanbul during the reign of Sultan Murad III (1546-1595, ruled 1574-1595) and placed at either side of the entrance to the nave of the Hagia Sophia. I only saw one – I think the other was hidden behind the restoration covering.

And the marble door up in the Southern gallery, it is probably removed from another Greek building and was brought to Hagia Sophia. The marble door was used by synod members to enter and exit to the meeting chamber.

And the 3 amazing Mosaic murals from 1100-1300’s – one had nearly lost all its Mosaic pieces and it looked like they were going to restore it.

Mahmut I’s Library – located in the on the ground floor .. captured me too. So beautiful.  Half of the walls decorated with marble and half top with tiles and the library’s front side has six columns, and in between, there are bronze grills that close the interior.hs-libary

From the Galleries there is a view over to the other side the Bosphorus … and the contrasts are hug between from I was standing to Istanbul of today and still they melt so great together. hs-contrast

There is so much information about Hagia Sophia …. but I leave that up to the professionals and all other websites that carry more information than I will be able to collect.

There were some last roses of the summer of 2016 … as I left the “Holy Wisdom” hs-rose

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19 thoughts on “inside of istanbul – hagia sophia

  1. Vivi, your affection for this place shines through. How can anyone look at this post and not want to be there, luxuriating in antiquity. And still you make me smile, hon. Us ancients must stick together 🙂 🙂 I’m sitting with the hot water bottle wondering where is a comfortable place to be, but for a little while I escaped to Istanbul with you. Hugs, sweetheart!

  2. “A single glance to give the world …” What a provocative quote! I wonder where it would be for me? I can see how Istanbul is right up there with front contenders. I love this post for the photos and for the almost-asides. The list of changing “ownership” is really a potted history of the area, and I smiled at your old lady comparison and the comparison with Sweden of long ago. Thank you again. Hope your weekend is sunshiny.

    • Thank you, Meg. Quite a good question … would I give my glance to Istanbul??? No, maybe not .. some beautiful nature spot probably that has everything. But it’s a frontrunner.
      We had the Iron age with all Viking’s carry on (so we didn’t really live in caves, but we hit people over the head) up here at year 500 and on the other end of Europe, they built buildings like this. That really rack my brain and how did the measure up the building and with all these details and domes. Never stops to amaze me. How made everything fit????
      No sunshine here today, but it’s Okay!

  3. What wonders you have seen and shared with us Vivi. Thank you so much. I would love to visit Istanbul, but unlikely now. I loved the comment that the Swedes were living in caves when the Hagia Sofia was built. Incredible what man has wrought.

    • Jo, I wasn’t really correct … we are into Vikings at that time .. but still, bang each other over the head .. both at home and around Europe. And even worst things I have been taught. I hope you have received my card because I’m sure I sent you one. Jo, you know me .. I love to share my adventures. *smile Marrocco next for Christmas. By the way, what do you mean with “unlikely now” – has something happened???!!! Lots of love

    • Jo, you know me … love to share my adventures. What do you mean with “unlikely now”????? Has something happened???!!! I wasn’t correctly right about the caves .. because we more into the bloody Viking time, but we still knocked each other over the head or cut the head off. *smile – both at home and around the world. What I understand was it the Vikings that found America first, don’t surprise me.

      • Unlikely now living in Canada, getting older and less fit. Being English I know about the Vikings. Actually I am supposed to be descended from the Danish Vikings.

      • Very interesting about the Danish Vikings … good for you. I heard that the Nordic Vikings cared a health problem around the world: cataract! So keep an eye on your eyes. *smile
        Canada, my favorite country … I would move there tomorrow if they asked me to come over.

      • How odd, I have just been told I have a cataract forming. Hubby has had cataracts removed and we both have suspected Danish ancestry. Nothing to stop you moving here.

  4. Oh, Vivi, I really must get to Istanbul! A friend told me Hagia Sofia was the place to see, rather than the Blue Mosque, and now you seem to be saying the same. Thanks for the virtual wander around this place! I love your asides…

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