The Church of St. Sophia, whose name means "Church of Holy Wisdom," was built in the 6th century, during the Byzantine Empire. For about 1,000 years it was the center of the Byzantine Empire. In the 15th century, when the Ottomans took over Istanbul, they converted it into a mosque.
The Hagia Sophia is considered one of the most famous buildings in the world. This is a very impressive building with enormous dimensions, the size of which competes with its beauty. In fact, it is the largest Christian cathedral in Turkey. Do not miss the beautiful mosaic decorations.
In front of the Hagia Sophia you will see the stone that marks the zero point. This stone survived from the Byzantine period. It was then used as a landmark of the "center of the universe," as they saw the world at the time. From it were marked mile stones, distances all over the empire.
It was built at the time, by Emperor Justinian I, by 10,000 workers and builders. At the end of 536 CE, it was inaugurated, and for a thousand years it was considered the largest church in the world.
In the 15th century, after the Byzantine Empire sank, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottomans who hastened to turn it into the Hagia Sophia Mosque. They added to it fountains and high minarets, the mausoleum minarets characteristic of the mosques.
In the 1930's, the mosque became a museum and up to today.
Its exterior and slightly grayish exterior, may be misleading. Because this large church is well planned.
And it is not only because of the size, that the church of Hagia Sophia, which has become a mosque, can be considered an architectural work of art. It has wonderful and unique gold mosaics, which cause the breath to shift from its entrance. In these golden mosaics you can see iconic figures in the history of Christianity, such as the Virgin Mary, the Archangel Gabriel and various Byzantine emperors.
Even in the foyer, before leaving the church, on the way to her large, impressive exit gate, she looked back and up. See and notice the magnificent mosaic, in which Jesus and Madonna are seen in the center, to the right of which the Emperor Justinian holds the Hagia Sophia and to the left the Emperor Constantine presenting the model of the city.
So both artistically and architecturally it is a masterpiece that is no less incomprehensible. You are entitled to feel lucky - from the day of its construction until today, the Hagia Sophia influenced many buildings and churches in the world and is a real world icon!