The Story of Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia is a hemispherical monument initially constructed as a cathedral in Constantinople which is currently known as Istanbul in Turkey...

The Story of Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia is a hemispherical monument initially constructed as a cathedral in Constantinople which is currently known as Istanbul in Turkey. It is believed that the initial Hagia Sophia was demolished by an earthquake though researchers are not certain of this. Constantine and Theodosius, who was an emperor during this period, constructed a new Hagia Sophia who became the greatest and one of a kind in 360 CE (Kleinbauer, et al. 7). This paper provides a biography of Hagia Sophia and an elaborate explanation on how its materialistic culture influences the process of exploring continuities between the past and the present.

Hagia Sophia signifies holy wisdom which is a hemispherical monument currently known as Istanbul in Turkey. It has two floors placed in the middle of the body of the church extending from the transepts to the principal entrances with a curved ceiling highly placed above it. For about fourteen centuries now, Hagia Sophia has served as a cathedral, mosque and at present is used as a museum. Hagia Sophia was reconstructed during the rule of Justinian I who had become notorious due to his ruling system that led to tumult aimed at overthrowing his empire. The completion of Hagia Sophia, however, symbolized a battle won by the Christians who lived around the empire during that period. Research shows that the two floors constructed in the Hagia Sophia signify the organization of the church that could have been designed according to gender or class. Thus, the gallery was a tool used to separate different genders and social classes of the people who came to the cathedral, for instance, imperial lodge for emperors. The western vestibule leading to the nave in Hagia Sophia had nine doors that were used by different categories of congregants of the church. Initially, the decorations included uncomplicated images, for instance, images of crosses. As time had passed, the ornate mosaics were introduced. Research indicates that from the time of Justinian I, imperial portraits, family images, emperors’ portraits and the images of Christ have been added to the legacy of Hagia Sophia. Most of these images were destroyed during the period of iconoclasm. It is believed that there were rules against use of images which were substituted instead by the use of crosses in Hagia Sophia. The termination of the iconoclasm took back the decoration of Hagia Sophia through images, and an apse of the mosaic was made displaying Virgin Mary with her baby Jesus.

Immediately, after the fall of the initial empire, which led to the rise of Mehmed II in 1453, the cathedral was converted into a mosque. This conversion took place during the rule of the sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Several changes were made in order for Hagia Sophia to serve as a mosque. For example, four tall, slender towers, which are typical for an Islamic mosque and from which the muezzin recites the adhan, were constructed. The inner part of this building was painted with a yellow print to cover the initial images that were made by Christians, except for the image of the Virgin Mary with Jesus Christ as well as four monograms that were placed alongside this image.  These changes led to the establishment of the Blue mosque in the seventeenth century.

In 1934 the Turkish government converted the Hagia Sophia from a religious entity to a worldly building and made it a museum. According to the Turkish government, the Eastern world would gain much from its conversion to a museum rather than leave it as a mosque to its historical context. At present, Hagia Sophia remains to be a cultural structure site that relates to both the present and the past.

Monumental arguments have been established to investigate the cultural structure continuity between the past and the present of Hagia Sophia. The conservationists in Turkey have taken the initiative of exploring the materialistic culture in Hagia Sophia. Nonetheless, examining Hagia Sophia, currently serving as a museum, brought  the need to recover mosaics, frescoes, and masonry as well as to ensure its continuity of historical and cultural activities. For example, the tall, slender towers of the Islamic mosque possess direct cultural impacts of heroic equality. Hagia Sophia is an iconic building in the world and one of the most vital monuments in Turkey that has attracted several preservationists and conservationist who aim at connecting past cultural worship to present one. Apart from being a grand building, Hagia Sophia has a collection of purple porphyry and green marble blocks, and is decorated with silver from the inside portraying the fact of how this building is culturally rooted.

Hagia Sophia is a magnificent symbol constructed by Constantine the Great as the first Christian expansive and wealthy structure. It was popularly known as Megale Ekklesia meaning “The Great Church”. However, the vision of establishing the city of Constantinople as the second Rome with the symbol of Hagia Sophia resulted in the split of Eastern and Western churches in 1054. Nevertheless, no research explains how this church was demolished. However, there are suggestions that claim it to be brought down due to its size that was perceived to be small. Hagia Sophia contains tangible remains of worship that were used by Christians like the horn of Joshua, the thorns that were used to crown Jesus and the blood of Jesus Christ. These items make present Christians consult Hagia Sophia for past religious activities that would propagate current practices. For that reason, Hagia Sophia can be used as an evidence to explain the present arguments between the Muslims and the Christians in Turkey and all over the world. This scenery, therefore, has formed a part of material culture of Turkey since the olden days.

From the discussion, it is evident that Hagia Sophia is an important monument in the history of religion. Its creation dates back to the 360 CE. It plays a significant role of displaying holiness and the tenacity of Christians. Consequently, it shows the existence of the religious divide between the Muslims and the Christians. Hagia Sophia displays a continuity of material culture of both past and present generations. It is evident due to the research findings that the content of the monument does not only represent the continuity between the past and the present, but also incorporates historical facts that serve to be of great importance for two universal religions.

The article was conducted and published by professional writer Lola Nickson you can find more her papers at paper writing service writing service.