St. Sophia Museum (Hagia Sophia), which is among the most significant monuments of world�s architectural history, is considered as the only application in terms of its architectural property, its magnificence, greatness and functionality. St. Sophia has been an inspiration for Ottoman mosques thought in idea, and is reviewed as a product of east-west synthesis. St. Sophia served for 916 years as church and 481 years as mosque since its year of construction. Recently, St. Sophia was turned into a museum in 1935.
Byzantine historians Theophanes, Nikephoros and Gramercy Leon claim that St. Sophia was originally built during the period of Emperor I. Konstantinos (324-337). At that time, St. Sophia which had a Basilica planned, wooden domed structure, was burned in a fire and Emperor II. Thedosius re-commissioned St. Sophia for the second time and it was reopened for service in 415. However, St. Sophia burned one more time in 532 during the Nika revolution and rebuilt for the third time by Emperor Justinianus (527-565). When Isidoros of Miletus and Anthemious of Tralles, the most famous architects of the period were building the St. Sophia which survived until today, they used the columns, column heads, marbles and color stones of the antic city remains of Anatolia.
The construction of St. Sophia began in 23 December 532 and it was completed in 27 December 537. From the architectural point of view, it is comprised of a large central section, two side sections (nef), abyss, interior and exterior narthexes. The interior has a size of 100x70, it�s covered by a dome with a diameter of 30-31 m. and a height of 55 m. carried by four big columns. As well as its architecture, the mosaics of St. Sophia are also of worth noting. The most ancient mosaics are the golden glided geometrical and flower-motif mosaic on interior narthex and sides. The figured mosaics were made in IX-XII century, and they can be seen on Emperor Gate, on the abscissas, on the exit gate and upper floor gallery.
St. Sophia had undergone various repairs during Turkish period starting with the conquest of Istanbul. While the framing of mihrab is adorned with the most beautiful examples of Turkish china art and Turkish calligraphic art, the sura from Koran on the dome inscribed by the famous Turkish Calligrapher Mustafa �zzet Efendi and the round sheets with a diameter of 7.50 m are the most remarkable ones. In these frames, the names of Allah, Mohammed, �mer, Osman, Ali, Hasan, Ebu Bekir and Hussein are written. And on he side walls of the mihrab can be seen the frames written by Ottoman sultans and donated to the museum.The tombs of Sultan Selim the 2nd, Sultan Mehmed the 3rd, Sultan Murad the 3rd and heirs, the fountain of Sultan Mahmut the 1st, primary school, public kitchen and library, sultan maksoorah of Sultan Abd�lmecid, clock room are among the Turkish period works at St. Sophia, and the tombs make up the most precious examples of Ottoman tomb tradition with regard to their interior design, caustic art and architecture Address: Sultanahmet Square 34400 IstanbulPhone: +90 212 522 17 50�522 0989