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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wrapping up Turkey - The Hagia Sophia

Before we get too Greekified, lets go back and take a look at the 4th Great Architectural monument in that small area of Istanbul around Sultanahmet - The Hagia Sophia. Built around 400 or so AD under Emperor Constantine of the Eastern Roman Empire which became Byzantium, expanded under Emperor Justinian, - the spiritual heart of the Byzantine Empire until it was turned into a mosque under the Ottomans in 1453. From The outside standing next to the Blue Mosque it looks very Islamic with its minarets and multiple domes, once inside though it still remains very much a Byzantine Basilica at heart, especially since they have painstakingly removed the layers of plaster to reveal the incredible Byzantine mosaics once again. Once more we took an audio tour - had fun trying to find the numbers to plug in. What a way to finish up Istanbul, an incredible building.

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