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Ayasofya Church
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Mediterranean Civilizations

Ayasofya

Ayasofya was built on the site of Byzantium's acropolis by Emperor Justinian I in 537 AD.

Ayasofya was built to surpass the gigantic Church of St. Polyeuchtos erected by Julia Anitzia.

Ayasofya is the Turkish name for Hagia Sophia.

Ayasofya, The Church of the Divine Wisdom in Istanbul, Turkey is one of the most impressive and important churches ever constructed.

Ayasofya's wide, flat dome was an amazing engineering feat for the 6th century, and architects still study the building's many innovations.

Julia Anitzia who was in line to become emperor built the Church of St. Polyeuchtos to symbolize power and claim to the throne of Byzantium. In building Ayasofya Justinian I or otherwise known as Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus had to build larger, grander Church than Julia had built in order to establish his own legitimacy to the thrown of Byzantium and in building Ayasofya he did.

Justinian's church Ayasofya, remained the largest church ever built until St. Peter's Basilica was established in Rome over a thousand years later.

After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Mehmet the Conqueror the Ottoman Sultan inherited the world's most impressive building at the time. Soon after Mehmet the Conqueror proclaimed Ayasofya as a mosque and kept the building safe from destruction.

Ayasofya remained one of the most revered mosques in Turkey until 1935 when Atatürk, recognizing its monumental and historical significance, had the mosque converted into a museum. Every year thousands of people from all over the world come to visit this great Church.

Ayasofya should be one of the first things to see on your trip to Istanbul. It's locations is very central in that it's right next to Topkapi Palace (The magnificent Ottoman Palace), the Blue Mosque (Also known as Sultan Ahmet Mosque) and the Byzantine Hippodrome. One of the neat things you may experience when you are in this area is the call to praire. Even if you are not a Muslim, hearing the call to praire in this area can be a hair raising experience.

Ayasoya is in the process of being restored to it's beuty of 1500 years ago. This means the interior is filled with scaffolding, and will be some more years. You'll still enjoy your visit here.

Make sure you visit the second mezzanine level to see the splendid Byzantine mosaics, and get a birds eye view of the insides of the church.