Thursday in Istanbul – the Hagia Sophia

11/27 – Happy Thanksgiving to all! We especially miss our family today, but are thankful for their health and happiness. If we can’t be eating turkey, we’re happy to be in Turkey! We tried to describe a turkey to our Malaysian friends at breakfast…

Today we visited the Hagia Sophia, which started out as Emperor Constantine’s church in the 300s, was burned down and rebuilt by Justinian in the 500s, then was converted to a mosque in the 1400s, was closed when it began to seriously deteriorate, and was reopened as a museum in the 1930s as part of the secularization and westernization of Turkey under Attaturk. It shares a square with the Blue Mosque.


There’s a golden library on the main floor:

There’s also a Wishing Column, where people stick their thumb in a hole and try to rotate their hand all the way around to make their wish come true:image

In the process of restoration, some of the original Christian frescoes were uncovered. It’s so neat to see the juxtaposition of two cultures.image




Here you can see where the cross images were covered over with abstract patterns.image

The view from the upper gallery was magnificent.image



Just loved this place!

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