537 A.D Completion date 532 A.D. Beginning date 55 m (180 ft) Height 73 m (240 ft) Width 82 m (270 ft) Length Ashlar , brick Material Museum (Current Use)/ Eastern Orthodox Church (Former)/ Imperial Mosque (Former) Type Isidore of Miletus Anthemius of Tralles Designer Istanbul (historically Constantinople ) Turkey Location View of the Hagia Sophia from Sultanahmet square
Architecture Hagia Sophia is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. Of great artistic value was its decorated interior with mosaics and marble pillars and coverings. The temple itself was so richly and artistically decorated that Justinian proclaimed, "Solomon, I have outdone thee!" (Νενίκηκά σε Σολομών). Justinian himself had overseen the completion of the greatest cathedral ever built up to that time, and it was to remain the largest cathedral for 1,000 years up until the completion of the cathedral in Seville in Spain .
Dome Interior of the Hagia Sophia by John Singer Sargent, 1891 <ul><li>The dome of Hagia Sophia has spurred particular interest for many art historians, architects and engineers because of the innovative way the original architects envisioned the dome. The dome is supported by pendentives which had never been used before the building of this structure. </li></ul><ul><li>The pendentive enables the dome to transition gracefully into the square shape of the piers below. The pendentives not only achieve a pleasing aesthetic quality, but they also restrain the lateral forces of the dome and allow the weight of the dome to flow downward. </li></ul>
Hagia Sophia (Turkish Ayasofya , from the Greek Ἁγία Σοφία , "Holy Wisdom"; Latin Sancta Sophia or Sancta Sapientia ) is a former Orthodoxpatriarchal basilica, later a mosque, now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. Famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architectureand to have "changed the history of architecture." It was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years, until the completion of the Seville Cathedralin 1520. The current building was originally constructed as a church between 532 and 537 A.D. on the orders of the ByzantineEmperor Justinian, and was in fact the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site. (The previous two had both been destroyed by riots.) It was designed by Isidore of Miletus a physicist, and Anthemius of Tralles, a mathematician.
 The church contained a large collection of holy relics and featured, among other things, a 15 m (49 foot) silver iconostasis. It was the seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople and the religious focal point of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly one thousand years. It was the church in which Cardinal Humbert in 1054 marched up to the altar and excommunicated Michael I Cerularius, which is commonly considered the start of the Great Schism.
<ul><li>In 1453, Constantinople was conqueredby the Ottoman Turksand SultanMehmed IIordered the building to be converted into a mosque. </li></ul><ul><li> The bells, altar, iconostasis, and sacrificial vessels were removed, and many of the mosaics were eventually plastered over. </li></ul><ul><li>The Islamic features— such as the mihrab, the minbar, and the four minarets outside — were added over the course of its history under the Ottomans. </li></ul><ul><li>It remained as a mosque until 1935, when it was converted into a museum by the Republic of Turkey. </li></ul>
<ul><li>For almost 500 years the principal mosque of Istanbul, Hagia Sophia served as a model for many of the Ottoman mosques such as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque(Blue Mosque of Istanbul), the Şehzade Mosque, the Süleymaniye Mosque, the Rüstem Pasha Mosque, and the Kılıç Ali Paşa Mosque . </li></ul>
Second church The Patriarch of Constantinople John Chrysostomcame into a conflict with Empress Aelia Eudoxia, wife of the emperor Arcadius, and was sent into exile on 20 June 404. During the subsequent riots, this first church was largely burned down. A second church was ordered by Theodosius II, who inaugurated it on 10 October 415. The basilica with a wooden roof was built by architect Rufinus. The fire that started during the tumult of the Nika Revolt resulted in the destruction of the (second) Hagia Sophia, which burned down to the ground on 13–14 January 532. Several marble blocks from this second church have survived to the present day, and they are displayed in the garden of the current (third) church. The blocks were originally part of a monumental front entrance; they were excavated in the western courtyard by A. M. Schneider in 1935. The relief depicting 12 lambs — 12 apostles — as well as other remains of this church were discovered during excavation works in 1935. In order not to harm the present Hagia Sophia building, further excavation works were not carried out .
On 23 February 532, only a few days after the destruction of the second basilica, Emperor Justinian Itook the decision to build a third and entirely different basilica, larger and more majestic than its predecessors. Justinian chose the physicist Isidore of Miletusand the mathematician Anthemius of Trallesas architects; Anthemius, however, died within the first year. The construction is described by the Byzantine historian Procopius' On Buildings ( Peri ktismatōn , Latin: De aedificiis ). Third church (current structure)
<ul><li>The emperor had material brought from all over the empire, such as Hellenistic columnsfrom the Temple of Artemisat Ephesus. Large stones were brought from far-away quarries: porphyry from Egypt, green marble from Thessaly, black stone from the Bosporus region, and yellow stone from Syria. </li></ul><ul><li>More than ten thousand people were employed during this construction. This new church was immediately recognized as a major work of architecture, demonstrating the creative insights of the architects. They may have used the theories of Heron of Alexandria to be able to construct a huge dome over such a large open space. </li></ul><ul><li>The emperor, together with the patriarch Eutychius, inaugurated the new basilica on 27 December 537 with much pomp. The mosaics inside the church were, however, only completed under the reign of Emperor Justin II(565–578 </li></ul>
Immediately after the Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople in 1453, the Hagia Sophia was converted into the Ayasofya Mosque. At that time, the church was very dilapidated. Several of its doors had fallen off. This condition was described by several Western visitors, such as the Córdoban nobleman Pero Tafur and the Florentine Cristoforo Buondelmonti. The sultanMehmed IIordered the immediate cleanup of the church and its conversion to a mosque. The next sultan Bayezid II built a new minaret, replacing the one built by his father.
In the 16th century the sultan Suleiman the Magnificent(1520–1566) brought back two colossal candles from his conquest of Hungary. They were placed on both sides of the mihrab. During the reign of Selim II(1566–1577), the building started showing signs of fatigue and was extensively strengthened with the addition of structural supports to its exterior by the great Ottoman architect Sinan, who is also considered one of the world's first earthquake engineers. In addition to strengthening the historic Byzantine structure, Sinan built the two additional large minarets at the western end of the building, the original sultan's loge, and the mausoleum of Selim II to the southeast of the building (then a mosque) in 1577. The mausoleums of Murad III and Mehmed III were built next to it in the 1600s
<ul><li>Two huge marble lustration urns were brought from Pergamon during the reign of Sultan Murad III . Originally from the Hellenistic period, they are carved from single blocks of marble </li></ul>Narthex and portals The Imperial Gate was the main entrance between the exo- and esonarthex. It was reserved only for the emperor. The Byzantine mosaic above the portal depicts Christ and Emperor Leo VI the Wise. A long ramp from the northern part of the outer narthex leads up to the upper gallery.
Mosaics <ul><li>The church was richly decorated with mosaics throughout the centuries. They either depicted the Virgin Mother, Jesus, Saints, or emperors and empresses. Other parts were decorated in a purely decorative style with geometric patterns. </li></ul><ul><li>During the Sack of Constantinople in 1204, the Latin Crusaders vandalized valuable items in every important Byzantine structure of the city, including the golden mosaics of the Hagia Sophia. Many of these items were shipped to Venice, whose Doge, Enrico Dandolo, had organized the invasion and sack of Constantinople </li></ul>