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ISTANBUL
Dance with the rhythm of different cultures
Hagia Sophia: (Aya Sofya)

Once a church, Istanbulthan became a Mosque and now a Museum. Probably one of the most interesting spots of Istanbul. It is called as St Sophia, Hagia Sophia or Ayasofya, the difference is only in the Languages. Ayasofya is one of the most extraordinary buildings in the history of architecture. Ayasofya is the forth biggest Cathedral in the world with its 56m high dome, after Saint Paul in London, Saint Peter in Rome and Duomo in Milan, However the main fact is, it was built more than 1000 years ago from the others.. The museum is open everyday, except Monday. And visiting hours are from 9:30 to 16:30.. The entrance fee is 20 TL (~ 9 Euro) including visit to the upper gallery floor. (Before the upper gallery has got an extra fee.)

The interior of the museum is decorated with splendid Byzantine mosaics. While visiting the museum, you should spare some time to see the upper gallery, where you need to climb up a path inside the building. The upper galleries give the best perspectives inside St Sophia. This is also where you'll see the great mosaics and ambience of the church. It is much more attractive from the second floor and also a pictured summary of the history of the Church can be found on this floor.  

"Church of the Holy Apostles'' .. was the first name of the Church when it was built in 360 AD.. The city of Novo Roma (Istanbul) has been built in 6 years and a world wonder architectural Church has been built to represent it is wonder... However it was collapsed in a riot at 414 and once more collapsed again in a riot in 532. The current structure has been built in 537 by emperor Justinian.

Year: 532, Hippodrome Square, Novo Roma;
 One of the nicest entertainment of the city was the horse car races, citizens were gathering in the Hippodrome square and were watching the races. Emperor Justinian was also watching the Horse car races, however the games winner was again the emperors side. At the end of the races a quarrel has started, later which leads to a political riot. Emperor could hardly battle the riot with the support of Queen Theodora. But The church of Holy apostles was destroyed during the riot. So Emperor has decided to build a gorgeous church replacing the previous one. He ordered the best architect Antemius and geometrician Isidorus.

Ten thousand workers has worked for five years and built the Divine Wisdom, St Sophia Church. The dome of the church is 55,6 meters high from the ground and has a radius of 31 meters. Even after 1500 years, it is still the fourth biggest cathedral.

In 1453 when Constantinople Felled, Sultan Mehmed Conqueror has turned the church to a mosque and it was used as a mosque for nearly 500 years. Sultan has built four minarets at the corners of building at this time. On the walls of Aya Sophia you can see big circular plates where the name of "Allah" and prophet "Muhammed" is written in Arabic. There are also 4 more big circular plates where names of 4 Halifas were written. Aya Sophia has turned to be a Museum in 1935 by Ataturk, the Founder of Turkish Republic.

Aya Sofya Pictures: @ wowturkey.com
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