HAgia Sophia

Hardly anyone does not know that today’s Hagia Sophia is the 3rd Hagia Sophia. But did the previous ones look like today? Let’s go back a little bit and explore Hagia Sophia and its underlying together.

First Hagia Sophia

Saint Sophia Church The construction of the first Hagia Sophia was initiated by the Roman emperor Constantine the Great, who declared Christianity as the official religion of the empire. Between 337 and 361, the son of Constantine the Great, II. It was completed by Constantius and the opening of the Hagia Sophia church was performed by Constantius II on 15 February 360. It is learned from the records of Socrates Scholasticus that the first Hagia Sophia decorated with silver-covered curtains was built on the Temple of Artemis.

Many people state that Hagia Sophia represents 3 religions, this is because the first Hagia Sophia was built on the Temple of Artemis.

The name of the first Hagia Sophia Church, which means “Great Church”, is Magna Ecclesia in Latin and Megálē Ekklēsíā in Greek. There are no remains from this structure, which is stated to be built on an old temple.

This First Hagia Sophia was built near the imperial palace (in the northern part of today’s museum area, close to the new toilets, closed to visitors), which was once near the Hagia Eirene Church, which served as a cathedral until the building was completed. Both churches functioned as the two main churches of the Eastern Roman Empire.

The First Hagia Sophia was a columned basilica in traditional Latin architecture style, with a wooden roof and an atrium in front of it. Even this first Hagia Sophia was an extraordinary building. During the rebellions that followed the deportation of the Patriarch of Constantinople, St.

Second Hagia Sophia

After the first church was destroyed during the riots, the emperor II. Theodosius gave the order to build a second church where today’s Hagia Sophia is located, and the opening of the Second Hagia Sophia took place on October 10, 415, in his time. This Second Hagia Sophia, built by the architect Rufinos, was also basilica planned, wooden roofed and five naves.

It is believed that the Second Hagia Sophia hosted the First Istanbul Council, which became the Second Ecumenical Council in 381, together with Hagia Eirene. This structure was destroyed on 13-14 January 532 during the Nika uprising.

In 1935, in the west courtyard of the building (today’s entrance), A.M. Many finds belonging to this Second Hagia Sophia were found during the excavations carried out by Schneider.

Today, these finds, which can be seen next to the main entrance of Hagia Sophia and in the garden, are the remains of porticoes, columns, capitals, and marble blocks, some of which are carved with reliefs. These were found to be parts of the triangular pediment that once decorated the facade of the building. The reliefs of lamb in a block that adorns the facade of the building were made to represent 12 apostles. In addition, the excavations revealed that the floor of the Second Hagia Sophia was located two meters lower than the floor of the Third Hagia Sophia. Although the length of the Second Hagia Sophia is unknown, it is believed to be 60 m wide. not.)

Third Hagia Sophia

A few days after the destruction of the Second Hagia Sophia on February 23, 532, Emperor Justinian I decided to build a church that was completely different from the previous one, larger and much more magnificent than the churches built by the emperors before him. Justinian assigned the physicist Isidoros of Miletus and the mathematician Anthemius of Tralles as architects to do this work. According to a legend, Justinian did not like any of the drafts for the church he was going to build. One night Isidoros fell asleep while trying to draft. When he wakes up in the morning, he finds a prepared plan of Hagia Sophia. Justinian finds this plan perfect and orders Hagia Sophia to be built accordingly. According to another legend, Isodoros saw this plan in his dream and drew the plan as he dreamed. (Since Anthemius died in the first year of construction, Isidore continued the business). The construction is described by the Byzantine historian Prokopius in Justinian’s buildings (Latin: De Aedificiis, “On Buildings”).

Instead of producing materials to be used in construction, it was preferred to use the ready-made materials in the buildings and temples in the empire. This method can be considered as one of the factors that make the construction time of Hagia Sophia very short. Thus, in the construction of the building, columns brought from the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, the Sun Temple (Heliopolis) in Egypt, the Baalbek Temple in Lebanon and many other temples were used. It is unknown how these columns were moved with sixth century facilities. Among the colored stones used in the coating and columns, red porphyry Egypt, green porphyry Greece, white marble Marmara Island, yellow stone Syria and black stone are of Istanbul origin. In addition, stones from various regions of Anatolia were used. It is stated that more than ten thousand people worked in the construction. At the end of the construction, the Hagia Sophia Church has taken its current form.

The Model of Today’s Hagia Sophia

This new church, which demonstrated a creative understanding in architecture, was immediately recognized as one of the masterpieces of architecture. It is possible that the architect benefited from the theories of Heron of Alexandria in building a huge dome that could provide such a large open space.

The construction work, which started on December 23, 532, was completed on December 27, 537. Emperor Justinian and patriarch Eutychius made the opening of the church with a great ceremony. Emperor Justinian I (Justinian) said “O Solomon! I beat you” in his opening speech to the public, since Hagia Sophia is larger than the Temple of Solomon, which was considered the largest building until then. The first mosaics of the church were built between the years 565 and 578. It was completed during the Justin era. The light plays created by the lights leaking from the dome windows on the mosaics on the walls combined with the genius architecture created a fascinating atmosphere for the audience. Hagia Sophia had such a fascinating and profound impact on foreigners who came to Istanbul that those who lived in the Byzantine period described Hagia Sophia as “the only one in the world” (“singulariter in mundo”).

But shortly after its construction, cracks appeared in the main dome and the eastern hemisphere during the 553 Gölcük and 557 Istanbul earthquakes. In the earthquake of 7 May 558, the main dome completely collapsed and the first ambon, cyborium and altar were crushed and destroyed. The emperor immediately initiated the restoration work and brought Isidorus, the nephew of Isidore of Miletus, to lead this work. Taking lessons from the earthquake, light materials were used in the construction of the dome to prevent it from collapsing again this time, and the dome was made 6.25 m higher than before.

The First Version of the Dome

The restoration work was completed in 562. Hagia Sophia, which has been the center of the Orthodoxy Patriarch of Constantinople for centuries, also hosted imperial ceremonies such as Byzantine coronation ceremonies. Emperor VII. In his book “The Book of Ceremonies” (De caerimoniis aulae Byzantinae), Konstantinos elaborates the ceremonies held by the emperor and patriarch in Hagia Sophia.

The Dome After Restoration

explains. Hagia Sophia has also been a place of refuge for sinners. Among the damages that Hagia Sophia suffered later, there were 859 fires, 869 earthquakes that caused a half-dome to fall, and 989 earthquakes that caused damage to its main dome. After the 989 earthquake, the emperor II. Basil had the dome repaired by Armenian architect Trdat, who built the large churches in Agine and Ani. Trdat repaired a part of the dome and the western arch, and the church was reopened in 994 after 6 years of repair work.

Istanbul IV. It was invaded and plundered by the Venetian Republic during the Crusade. During this period, many sacred relics and gold found in Hagia Sophia were stolen.

Last Byzantine period

Before Attaching Buttresses

When Hagia Sophia came under the control of the Byzantines again in 1261, it was in a state of ruin and collapse. In 1317, the emperor II. Andronikos financed the legacy of his deceased wife, Irini, and added 4 retaining walls to the north and east parts of the building.

In the 1344 earthquake, new cracks appeared in the dome and various parts of the building collapsed on May 19, 1346. After this event, the church remained closed until the restoration work began in 1354 by the architects Astras and Peralta.

After The Buttresses Are Added

Ottoman-mosque period

After the conquest of Istanbul by the Ottoman Empire in 1453, as a symbol of the conquest, the Hagia Sophia Church was converted into a mosque. At that time, Hagia Sophia was in ruins. This situation is described by Westerners such as the Cordoba noble Pero Tafur and Florentine Cristoforo Buondelmonti. Fatih Sultan Mehmet, who gave special importance to Hagia Sophia, ordered the church to be cleaned immediately and converted into a mosque, but did not change its name. Its first minaret was built in his time.

The First Minaret Built by Fatih Sultan Mehmet (Later Demolished During Mimar Sinan Period, This Minaret Is Made Of Wood.)

Although the Ottomans preferred to use stone in such structures, this minaret was made of brick in order to quickly build the minaret.

2nd Minaret Built by Fatih Sultan Mehmet (It has survived until today.)

One of the minarets is sultan II. Added by Bayezid. In the 16th century, Suleiman the Magnificent brought two giant lamps to Hagia Sophia from a church he conquered in Hungary, which are located on both sides of the mihrab today.

II. During the Selim period (1566-1574), when it showed signs of fatigue or endurance, the building was reinforced with external retaining structures (pillars) added by the Ottoman chief architect Mimar Sinan, one of the world’s first earthquake engineers.

Minaret, Buttress and Other Building Groups Added to Hagia Sophia Later

Today, some of the 24 buttresses on all four sides of the building belong to the Ottoman period and some to the Eastern Roman Empire. Along with these retaining structures, Sinan also reinforced the dome by feeding the spaces between the piers carrying the dome and the side walls with arches and added two large minarets (in the western part), the sultan’s loge and II. Selim’s tomb (in the southeastern part) (1577). III. Murat and III. Mehmed’s tombs were added in the 1600s.

Arches Added to the Dome by Mimar Sinan

Among the other buildings added to the Hagia Sophia building during the Ottoman period, there are marble minbar, gallery opening to sultan’s court, muezzin chamber (mawlid balcony), preaching platform. III. Murad was found in Bergama and placed two cubes made of “gooseberry” (Eng. Alabaster) dating from the Hellenistic period (4th century BC) to the main nave (main hall) of Hagia Sophia. In 1739, Mahmud I ordered the building to be restored and added a library and a madrasah, a almshouse and a fountain next to the building (in its garden). Thus, the Hagia Sophia building, together with the surrounding buildings, turned into a complex. During this period, a new sultan gallery and a new altar were built.

Hagia Sophia Final Version

One of the most famous restorations of Hagia Sophia in the Ottoman period was carried out between 1847 and 1849 under the supervision of Swiss Italian Gaspare Fossati and his brother Giuseppe Fossati on the orders of Sultan Abdülmecit. The Fossati brothers reinforced the dome, vaults and columns and reworked the interior and exterior decoration of the building. Some of the gallery mosaics on the upper floor were cleaned, the most damaged ones were covered with plaster, and the mosaic motifs below were painted on this plaster. Oil lamp chandeliers providing the lighting system were renewed. Giant round paintings by Kazasker Mustafa Izzed Efendi (1801-1877), in which important names were written in calligraphy, were renewed and hung on the columns. A new madrasa and timinghouse was built outside Hagia Sophia. Minarets were brought in the same paint. When this restoration work was completed, the Hagia Sophia Mosque was reopened to the public with a ceremony held on 13 July 1849. Other buildings of the Hagia Sophia complex in the Ottoman period include the primary school, the mausoleum of princes, a public fountain, the tomb of Sultan Mustafa and Sultan İbrahim (formerly the baptistery) and the treasury.

After that, there is the adventure of Hagia Sophia becoming a Museum and then becoming a mosque again recently.

After the conquest of Istanbul in Hagia Sophia, by the order of Fatih Sultan Mehmet, all the mosaics are covered with plaster. The Fossati brothers removed and documented these mosaics while doing restoration work, but unfortunately the documents have not survived and have been lost. Today, plasters are removed and striking mosaics continue to be removed from gold.

In addition, Hagia Sophia changed color 3 times.

It was first painted in White.

It was then painted in Yellow and Orange Colors.

Finally, it was painted in the color closest to the Orjnal color.

Hagia Sophia painted in white
Hagia Sophia 2nd painting
Ayasofya En Son Boyama


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