Istanbul is a city that has an amazing history, the empires that lived their peak where based in Istanbul, which shaped the history and the beauty of this city. In addition, these empires left many relics in the city. We will talk about one of them, the Hagia Sophia.
History of Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia has an interesting history, the building went back and fourth many times throughout the history. from being the Eastern Orthodox Cathedral from 537 until 1453, but keep in mind that between the dates of 1204 and 1261 it was converted by the crusaders as a Roman Catholic. Then later, converted again to be an Ottoman mosque from 1453 until 1931. In fact, it was the world’s largest cathedral for almost a thousand years until the cathedral of Seville was built in 1520.
In 1453, when the city was conquered by the Ottomans, the Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror ordered the conversion of the church into an Ottoman Mosque, the Ottoman made a couple of changes to the church, some relics where destroyed, the bells and altar as well. Then, they added four minarets, minbar, and mihrab. It was the main mosque in Istanbul until the construction of the Blue Mosque in 1616.
Architecture and Location of Hagia Sophia
The architecture of the church was and still one of the best surviving examples of Byzantine architecture in the world, the western entrance is consisted of arched openings and half domes that extend to the central dome, the interior is a bit complex, the floor levels sit on an arcade of 40 windows and the main structure is covered by the central dome.
The location of this magnificent cathedral is highly demanding, it sits in the middle of Sultan Ahmet district in the old city of Istanbul, the district is famous for its relics left by the empires that ruled the city. The district has so many activities to do, one of the most important activities is the main reason why we are writing, which is the Hagia Sophia, and also, the Blue Mosque adds so many more interesting story to the area. You may also take a walk around the district and discover more things to do, the area is highly relaxing to be at, the tram adds an efficient way to get to the district, it is very easy to use. On the other side of the street you may notice that there are a lot of shops to check out, if you want to buy antiques or have a nice bite of Turkish meal. There you will find plenty of shops each one of them serve depends on your desire of food. It is a nice way to spend the day at the Sultan Ahmet District.
After you finish discovering the Hagia Sophia and its district, if you still have time to spare, ride the tram to Beyazit Station it is close to the Sultan Ahmet not very far, there you will see the famous Grand Bazaar, one of the largest covered bazaars in the world and also one of the best monuments, the bazaar is really famous for its products that contest with the best outlets in Istanbul, the bazaar offers not just clothes, it offers also Jewelry, Antiques, and some famous Turkish Delights, you will also have the experience to bargain with the merchants over there since many of them can speak foreign languages and can understand you very well, the bazaar have many visitors each day and it may seem crowded, but the bazaar is huge and it is wonderful to spend some time there if you want to buy the best products.
The Hagia Sophia is one of the best monuments in Istanbul that shaped the city. It has an amazing background and wonderful architecture. In addition, there are plenty of things to check out in the district of Hagia Sophia. Istanbul is a city of many relics and many wonderful history lessons, take you time while touring around each of the relics of Istanbul. You will have the best time ever.