Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Hagia Sophia

Our first stop in our tour of Istanbul was the beautiful Hagia Sophia.  A unique building that has history in two very different (though with a lot of similarities) religions.
Hagia Sophia is a former Greek Orthodox patriarchal basilica (church), later an imperial mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. From the date of its construction in 537 until 1453, it served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and seat of the Patriarchate of Constantinople,[1] except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire. The building was a mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931. It was then secularized and opened as a museum on 1 February 1935. From Wikipedia
When you walk into the main hall the beauty is amazing.  The ceilings are so all.  The chandlers are huge.  The paintings being uncovered are beautiful.  The large Arabic signs are reminders of the past.  So much to take in!
The Omphalion.  The place where coronations took place.
Pretending to be statues.
I love the beauty in this picture.  The large staircase that I'm sure many priests walked to give sermons and later many Imam (the Muslim equivalent of a priest).  At the top of the spindle of the stairs you see an Arabic sign and to the left a painting of Mary and Jesus that is being uncovered.  After the Hagia Sophia became a mosque, all of the Catholic paintings were painted over to cover them up.  Now the building is going through a major renovation to uncover the beautiful artwork.
Cats are allowed everywhere, even in holy places!
Sisters reading about the history of the Hagia.
Many long cobble walkways lead you to the top.  I just imagine back in time navigating through these on dark nights!  Oh, if these worn down stones could talk!
Enjoying the journey, making memories, and learning about history!
Sweet picture of Addyson.
Good looking international group!!!  (US living in Saudi, Canadians, and a German!)
There was a hole in a wall with a sign beside it stating that if you made a wish and turned your hand around the hole you wish would come true.
So a couple of us in our group gave it a try.
The others were a bit skeptical because we were exactly sure that was what the sign said!  Others chose to play it safe!!! ; )
Long beautiful hallway.
Dad taking a break! ; )
That's a wrap for the Hagia Sophia.  What else is there to see?!?!

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