What an incredible work of art. Experiencing a place that has existed for almost 1.5 thousand years is extraordinary. Built in 537, the Hagia Sofia served as a cathedral with a traditional basilica layout. It was converted to a mosque in 1453 and has been a museum since 1935. The exterior is modestly clad with brick, stone, and stucco, allowing one to marvel at the magnificent architecture. Arches, windows, domes, minarets, doors, columns… the construction is absolutely breathtaking.
Inside, the intricate ceiling mosaics and stained glass windows reflected light in such a miraculous way. It was a remarkably spiritual experience, standing still in the vast interior, with the enormous dome floating impossibly above us.
Most of all, I loved the way they used different colors and textures of marble and Egyptian porphyry on the walls and floors of the entire space. The natural beauty and quality of the stone is something that can not be replicated or improved upon. The web of cracks in the floor and orange rust stains provided endless opportunities for abstract compositions.
I think we were the only tourists photographing the floor cracks and walls…