Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Egypt & Turkey Part 23: Hagia Sophia

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Goodbye Blue Mosque and Hello....

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Hagia Sophia!

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Hagia Sophia since 1935 has been a museum.

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Before that it was a mosque and before that it held its place as a cathedral. 

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Many mosaics. They either depicted the Virgin Mother, Jesus, saints, or emperors and empresses. Other parts of the building have many decorative mosaics.

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Hagia Sophia has so much history that you would need so much time to concept it all. There was actually two other churches built at the same place, both destroyed. The first collapsed and the second one was burnt. 

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Hagia Sophia, when it was first built was used as a "Shrine of the Holy Wisdom of God". It was a Roman Catholic Cathedral until 1453, when Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks under Sultan Mehmed II. He ordered the main church of the Orthodox Christianity to be converted into a mosque. The church was put into complete disrepair. All the bells, altars, and other sacrificial vessels and relics were removed. They removed or plastered over all the mosaics of Jesus, his Mother Mary, the Christian angels and saints. 

Islamic features were added and it remained a mosque until 1931 when it was closed to public and reopened in 1935, four years later, as a museum by the Republic of Turkey.

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Back in the 1930's, a major part of the mosaics were rediscovered and they still continue now to restore the plastered mosaics. 

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Now we must say goodbye to Hagia Sophia, and our next stop is where?

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