Created 28-Oct-14
39 photos

Ayasofya (Greek: Hagia Sofia, meaning “Holy Wisdom”) was built as a cathedral of the Eastern Orthodox Church in 537. It was the largest building of its kind until 1520, when the Seville Cathedral was completed. In 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Turks and the Sultan ordered the cathedral to be converted into a mosque. It remained as a mosque until 1931 when the modern, secular Republic of Turkey was established. In 1935, it was opened as a museum.


It has been the subject of many restoration projects, one of which was in progress when we visited – as you will see from the scaffolding which intrudes into some of our photographs. Ayasofya is on one side of Sultanahmet Square facing the Blue Mosque.


The Square is a buzzy place full of tourists and locals. There is all kind of food available from individual street sellers, food stands and restaurants. We enjoyed mint tea and Turkish pastries here on more than one afternoon. There are more pictures of the Square to follow.

Ayasofya from Sultanahmet Squre

Ayasofya from Sultanahmet Squre

Minaret behind the Fountain building

Minaret behind the Fountain building

Detail of the Fountain

Detail of the Fountain

Remnants from the Ayasofya

Remnants from the Ayasofya

Huge scaffolding, part of the current restoration work.

Huge scaffolding, part of the current restoration work.

Library of Mahmoud I

Library of Mahmoud I

Sultan's Lodge

Sultan's Lodge

The Minbar

The Minbar

St John Chrysostome

St John Chrysostome

The Main Dome

The Main Dome

Viw of the Main Dome from below

Viw of the Main Dome from below

One of the original seraphim

One of the original seraphim

A second seraphim

A second seraphim

Ancient flagstone slope leading to the Upper gallery.

Ancient flagstone slope leading to the Upper gallery.

Ancient flagstone slope leading to the Upper gallery.

Ancient flagstone slope leading to the Upper gallery.

Ancient flagstone slope leading to the Upper gallery.

Ancient flagstone slope leading to the Upper gallery.

View of the interior from the Upper Gallery

View of the interior from the Upper Gallery

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