Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Sacred Destination: Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia – Great Architectural Monument – Byzantine & Ottoman Empires

A great architectural and an amazing monument from Byzantine and for Ottoman Empires is Hagia Sophia at the Turkish Republic.The magical city Istanbul had hosted several civilizations since centuries, wherein Byzantine and Ottoman Empires had been the most popular ones and presently the city carries the features of these two different cultures. Hagia Sophia tends to be a perfect combination from which one can notice both Byzantium as well as Ottoman effect under one great dome.

One will find 4 seraphim mosaics – God’s protector angels with 6 wings, on the 4 pendentives which tend to carry the dome. The faces of the 4 seraphim have been covered with six to seven layers of plaster for at least 160 years during the Ottomans’ sovereignty. The last person who had seen the faces of the Seraphim had been the Swiss architect Gaspare Fossati when he had been holding the restoration at Hagia Sophia in 1840s. Putting the efforts of 10 days of hard work, specialists managed to take off the seven layers of plasters, revealing the face of one of the seraphim.

Served as Cathedral/Mosque/Museum

Hagia Sophia means `holy wisdom’ and the domed monument was initially constructed as a cathedral in Constantinople, present day Istanbul, Turkey, during the 6th century A.D. It comprises of two floors which are centred on a giant nave that tends to have a great dome ceiling together with smaller domes that tower above it. Helen Garner and Fred Kleiner in their book `Gardner’s Art through the Ages’ A Global History, has mentioned that `its dimensions are difficult for any structure which is not built of steel.

In plan it is about 270 ft. long and a width of 240 feet. The diameter of the dome is 108 feet and its crown tends to rise about 180 feet above the pavement’.In its live span of 1,400 years, it had served in the category of a cathedral, mosque and is now a museum. Constantinople had been the capital of the Byzantine Empire when it had first been constructed. Officially Christian, this state formerly shaped the eastern half of the Roman Empire, carrying on after the fall of Rome.

Hagia Sophia_1

Construction in 532 AD – Nika Riots, Great Revolt

Construction of Hagia Sopha had started in 532 AD when the Nika Riots, the great revolt had hit Constantinople. During that time, Emperor Justinian I was the ruler of the empire for five years and was disliked by the people. A University of London historian Caroline Goodson in a National Geographic documentary had stated that `people were resentful of the high taxes which Justinian had imposed and they wanted him out of the office’.

 Justinian had managed to pull down the revolt with physical force, after moving loyal troops in the city. Due to the revolution and on the location of a torched church known as the Hagia Sophia, a new Hagia Sophia was to be built. For the ancient writer, Paul the Silentiary, who seemed to live there when the cathedral had been completed, the building signified a triumph for Justinian as well as Christianity.

Justinian had turned to two men Anthemius and Isidore the Elder in the construction of the cathedral.They had built it in a hurry completing it in less than six years and putting it in comparison took almost a century for medieval builders in constructing the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.

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