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Hagia Sophia

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.

Aya Sofya

Aya Sofya

Aya Sofya view from Sultanahmet Park

Aya Sofya view from Sultanahmet Park

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.

Half of the church's nave is being constructed at the time of our visit

Half of the church’s nave is being constructed at the time of our visit

Pretty chandeliers hanging low

Pretty chandeliers hanging low

Ornate ceiling

Ornate ceiling

Don't miss the four huge seraphs at the base of the dome

Don’t miss the four huge seraphs at the base of the dome

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.

Empress Zoe Mosaic dates back to 11th century

Empress Zoe Mosaic dates back to 11th century

Komnenos Mosaic, dates back to 12th century

Komnenos Mosaic, dates back to 12th century

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.

The weeping column was blessed by St Gregory the Miracle Worker and is believed to heal ailments when you put your finger into its hole.

The weeping column was blessed by St Gregory the Miracle Worker and is believed to heal ailments when you put your finger into its hole.

A 10th-century mosaic of Justinian (left) offering the Virgin Mary Aya Sofya and Constantine (right) offering her the city of Constantinople is located at the exit of the museum

A 10th-century mosaic of Justinian (left) offering the Virgin Mary Aya Sofya and Constantine (right) offering her the city of Constantinople is located at the exit of the museum

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