ISTANBUL, TURKEY – June 2018. My memory is as still vivid as we first set our feet in this very enchanting metropolis. A huge city embracing a diverse cultural influences of many civilisations that once flaunted on this land. One of the most notable attractions here in Istanbul is the Hagia Sophia. An iconic Byzantine edifice proudly standing like a magnanimous citadel in the middle of the city.
Everywhere you gaze your eyes on to, Istanbul never lacks of historical landmarks. Like this one, Hagia Sophia, built by Constantine the Great as a church in the 4th century. This monumental structure has seen much of how Istanbul was shaped by changing ruling powers. Hagia Sophia means “Holy Wisdom” which many mistakenly think that it was named after Saint Sofia, but we have learnt in our tour that it was originally dedicated to the second person of the Holy Trinity, and Greek its full name is “Church of the Holy Wisdom of God”, Sophia meaning ‘wisdom’. During Ottoman Empire AyaSofya was converted into a Mosque and remained under this regime for the next 500 years.
At present times, Hagia Sophia is now a Museum in the city of Istanbul. Where you can take your own time for free exploring the whole building. Visiting etiquette must be observed while you are inside the premises click here for more info. While we were inside, we cannot avoid but left in awe of what you can see inside as much as the exterior of the building boasts. Mosaics way back from 6th century were still there and properly preserved for us to witness. The hues and colours of the original patchworks were still evident. Inside you will see the remnants of both religious practices once occupied the Hagia Sophia. Some areas were closed during our visit as they are undergoing renovation and preservation. You will wonder on your own how did they decorate the interior from bottom all the way to the top ceiling. Considered one of the best Byzantine architecture, UNESCO declared it as a world heritage site.
Hagia Sophia offers you the finest example of artifacts on display. Tourists will see history in every corner they turn and every part and pieces here will definitely satisfy your curiosity for the past. Surely an awe-inspiring experience and journey we had here in Turkey.