Hagia Sophia Museum

Hagia Sophia Museum was built as a cathedral, between 532 – 537 AD by Justinian, one of the most important and successful Byzantine emperors.

It is known that there were 2 former buildings in the same spot where now the Hagia Sophia stands. The first one was built in the middle of the 4th century, which was called Magalé Eklesia. After a revolt, it was destroyed and in the beginning of the 5th century, another church was built.

In 532AD, people in Constantinople were not happy with the management of the empire. Another revolt started. The revolt was called the Nica Revolt. Justinian had to bring his troops to end the revolt. Thousands of people died that day.

After the revolt was suppressed, Justinian saw an opportunity to built a new city with its new Cathedral. He ordered this new cathedral to be built. The famous architects Anthemius and Isodoros built Hagia Sophia in 5 years.

Hagia Sophia means Holy Wisdom (Aγία Σοφία) in Greek and it is the most important Orthodox Church building on earth.

The importance of the building was not only religious but also architectural. This building is the first example of its architectural style.

It remained the highest temple on earth for about 1000 years. Its wide dome remained the widest and highest dome on earth.

For more than 1000 years it remained as the most important Orthodox church building.

After the conquest of Istanbul, by the order of Mehmet the Conqueror like most of the Byzantine churches, Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque. The beautiful mosaics were covered by plaster. The minarets and imperial tombs were added in time.

It became the most important imperial mosques around the empire.

In 1935, by the order of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, it was converted into a museum.

Since then Hagia Sophia is a secular museum and receives millions of visitors every year.

Hagia Sophia - Images