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Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey (Ayasofya)

New Wonders of the World Photo Gallery: Hagia Sophia


Hagia Sophia was a finalist in the campaign to choose the New World Wonders.
Large interior stone sacred building, inside dome, open space of Hagia Sofia in Turkey

Interior of the Hagia Sofia (Aya Sofia), Istanbul, Turkey. See the exterior

Photo © Mark Horn, Getty Images

Today's grand Hagia Sophia is the third structure built on this ancient site.

  • 360 AD Megale Ekklesia (Big Church) ordered by Emperor Konstantios; wooden roof burned and building destroyed during the public riots of 404 AD
  • 415 AD Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) ordered by Emperor Theodosios II; wooden roof burned and building destroyed during the public riots of 532 AD
  • 537 AD ordered by Emperor Justinianos (Flavius Justinianus); architects Anthemios of Tralles and Isidoros of Miletus each employed 100 architects, each with 100 workers

About Justinian's Hagia Sophia:

Historic Period: Byzantine
Length: 100 meters
Width: 69.5 meters
Height: Dome from the ground level is 55.60 meters; 31.87 meters radius North to South; 30.86 meters radius East to West
Materials: white marble from Marmara Island; green porphyry from Eğriboz Island; pink marble from Afyon; yellow marble from North Africa
Columns: 104 (40 in the lower and 64 in the upper); nave columns are from the Temple of Artemis in Ephessus; eight dome columns are from Egypt
Structural Engineering: Pendentives
Mosaics: stone, glass, terra cotta, and precious metals (gold and silver)
Calligraphy Panels: 7.5 - 8 meters in diameter, said to be the largest in the Islamic world

Source: History, Hagia Sophia Museum at www.ayasofyamuzesi.gov.tr/en/tarihce.html [accessed April 1, 2013]

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