Our lust for exploring ancient wonders led us to Istanbul. Considered the finest example of Byzantine architecture in the world, the glorious Hagia Sophia awaited us with its four spectacular minarets and its grand central dome.
Timeless and ageless, the Church of the Holy Wisdom has survived clashing empires and centuries of earthquakes and still dominates Istanbul´s skyline as it has for 1,500 years.
Overlooking the Bosporus, Hagia Sophia is defenitely one of most incredible spaces ever conceived. Originally a church, later a mosque, and now a museum, this architectural treasure reveals all her secrets as soon as you walk into it.
In the following picture you can see the Apse Mosaic showing the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus and the 16th Century Ottoman-period marble Mimbar (a pulpit where the Iman leads the prayers in a Mosque).
From the balcony, we admired the incredible beauty of this architectural, historical wonder and the grandeur of its dimensions. The geometrical windows give the allusion that the enormous gilded dome is floating while the golden hauting light fills the space with an aura of mystery.
The Hagia Sophia‘s round wooden frames depics the names of Allah and the Prophet Muhammad in Arabic calligraphy. The low hanging chandeliers from the domed ceilings are absolutely impressive.
Some of the best mosaics can be found in the Upper Gallery. Dating back to 11th century, the mosaic of the picture bellow features Christ Pantocrator in a blue robe flanked by Empress Zoe and Constantine Monomachos.
The most famous of the surviving Byzantine mosaics of the Hagia Sophia depicts Virgin Mary and John the Baptist imploring the intercession of Jesus Pantocrator for humanity on the Last Judgement day.
Sombre and glorious, Hagia Sophia is definitely one of the most beautiful buildings we´ve ever seen.