The world renowned Ayasofya was built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian around 537 AD, and it was used as a church for over 900 plus years. It then became a mosque for 481 years, and Turkey’s first President, Ataturk, officially declared it as a museum in 1935. Today, it is no longer used as a place of worship such as a church or mosque, so you shouldnâ€™t be too concerned with your attire of the taking of photos as you should be at some other religious landmarks located inside Istanbul, the Capital City.
Considered the first and last unique application in terms of its architecture (it was built on a square base rather than the common rectangular one), magnificence and functionality, it has been the main inspiration for many of the Ottoman Empire mosques over 10 centuries. The incredible frescoes and mosaics, the Renaissance era paintings, are located in the upper gallery, however despite being damaged, are among the most visited sites in the city. From 2007-2008, each and every gold tile piece of the ceiling will be restored to its former glory. Ayasofya is a number one must-see in Istanbul. As one of the most known tourist attractions inside Turkey, be sure to make a full day of a trip dedicated to the Hagia Sophia.
Photo by: M Hussain