There seems to be a certain kind of familiar feeling as I walked through the narrow, cobbled streets of Istanbul. And to think it’s only my first time here in this ancient, yet modern city.
Sean and I first visited Aya Sofya, undoubtedly one of the most famous and iconic buildings in the world. I used to only see this magnificent work of architecture on television so seeing this for real for the first time had me speechless.
The original Aya Sofya was actually built in the fourth century by Constantine the Great. Unfortunately, it was destroyed. A second one was later constructed in the same site by his son Constantius, which was also burned down by rioters.
The third and present Aya Sofya was built between 532 and 537 by Emperor Justinian 1 and has fortuitously stood the test of time. From the time it was built it served as an Orthodox Cathedral and later on a Catholic Church up until 1453 when it was converted into a mosque under the order of Mehmet the Conqueror. When Ataturk became president, it was secularized and declared a museum in 1934.