The byzantine era has been well known for its architectural significance in history

The byzantine era has been well known for its architectural significance in history. A lot of churches and cathedrals and many other buildings emerged at that time. One of the most significant buildings and that was considered the epitome of the byzantine architecture is what is known today as the Hagia Sophia(1). Initially named at its time as the “Great Church”, the Hagia Sophia was built in 537 AD in what was known as Constantinople (Istanbul, turkey today). It was a work of art that has been said to have changed the history of architecture. The Hagia Sophia is a former Greek orthodox patriarchal cathedral that was built upon the orders of the byzantine emperor Justinian I in 532 AD. It was mainly designed by two Greek geometers Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles and was constructed in a remarkably short period of six years. However, the very short time of construction resulted in a general weakness of the building which explains the repetitive collapse of its dome in 553 and 557 and again in 989 and 1436, always because of earthquakes(Encyclopedia Britannica, 2018). The name hagia Sophia which means holy wisdom did not come up until 430 AD. It was initially named as Megale Ekklesia meaning as mentioned before “great Church”. (Studyscanner.com, 2018) The hagia Sophia went through a lot of eras and has been used differently in different periods of time. When first constructed ,it was used as a Byzantine Christian Cathedral from (537-1204).then, It was used as a Roman Catholic Cathedral from 1204 until 1261. Later, it became a Greek Orthodox Cathedral from 1261 to 1453. When the Ottoman Empire conquered Istanbul in the 1453, the cathedral was transformed into a mosque(What To Do in Istanbul, Istanbul Daily City Tours, 2018). Some adjustments had been made to the building that includes the addition of the minarets to it and the change in the internal designs so that it suits the Islamic beliefs (2).
The Hagia Sophia has a huge dome of 32 meters diameter that is supported on pendentives and two semi domes, one on every side of the longitudinal axis .On plan, the Hagia Sophia is almost a square (3). It has three aisles separated by columns with galleries above. Great marble piers rise up to support the dome. The walls above the galleries and the base of the dome are pierced by windows, which in the glare of daylight make the supports so vague and opaque to give the impression that the canopy floats on air. (Quizlet, 2018)
The Hagia Sophia had been initially decorated by very simple images of crossings and plain reliefs for instance. Over the centuries, a number of mosaics had been added to the design of the church) (Science, 2018). . Imperial portraits, images of the imperial family, and different emperors were also reflected on the insides of the church (3) (Selina, 2018)Expressions of the ideas of Christianity, images of Christ and stories of the bible were also displayed on the inside walls of the church (4).
Unfortunately, today nothing remains of the original Hagia Sophia; however, it is still being used as a museum that grabs the attention of all tourists visiting Istanbul from all over the world (Thousandwonders.net, 2018).
In conclusion, The Hagia Sophia (537ad) is the prime masterpiece left from the byzantine era .although nothing remians of the original hagia sophia, it is still one the great wonders of architectural history. The details shown on the exterior and interior of the building clearly reflect what historical period it belongs to. Its central-plan layout along with the use of a dome resting on pendentives distinguished it and made it the most important building of its time. The fa├žade of the building was almost left plain but was emphasized with a lot of widows with semi-circular arches. Clerestory lighting and golden wall mosaics were also used a lot in order to improve the religious effect of the cathedral. In general, the Hagia Sophia successfully reflected all the architectural elements of the Byzantine period in terms of construction techniques, design, layout and continues today to be one of the most beautiful places that attract a great number of tourists yearly in Turkey

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