Hagia Sophia, constructed in the year 537, is a former Christian basilica, later an imperial mosque, and today a museum located in Istanbul, Turkey.
It is one of the most visited museums and most prominent monuments in the world in terms of art and the history of architecture.
Byzantine emperor Justinian commissioned the church in 532 and it was dedicated just five years later as Sancta Sophia, meaning “Holy Wisdom,” in Latin. Justinian was a great builder, and Sancta Sophia was his greatest legacy in stone. Its architect-engineers, Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus, brought to the massive building project superior job training in mathematics, physics and engineering.
Famous for its massive dome, Hagia Sophia is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture, and many historians believe it changed the history of architecture. It remained the world’s largest cathedral for nearly one thousand years.
It was used as a church for 916 years, but following the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmed, the Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque. Its served as a mosque in Istanbul for 482 years.
In 1935, the first Turkish President and founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, transformed the structure into a museum. Today, Hagia Sophia attracts more than three million visitors annually from around the world.
Scott Kent is a journalism alumnus and international hotel executive who sends HottyToddy.com reports from around the world. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org