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Aya Sofya

The Aya Sofya (Haghia Sophia), or Church of the Divine Wisdom, was commissioned by the Byzantine emperor Justinian in the sixth century after its predecessor had been razed to the ground in rioting in 532 AD. For a thousand years, the church was the largest enclosed space in the world. Ransacked during the Fourth Crusade in 1204, it was turned into a mosque after the city was captured by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453 and four minarets were added.

On our visit, there was an absolutely enormous scaffolding tower in the middle of the space under the dome. Istanbul is the European City of Culture in 2010 and it seems as if a lot of the city's monuments are being spruced up at the same time.

  

 



I'm sure it's wrong to say this but the baby Jesus has a face like Chuckie in the last picture.

In Parsantium, the Holy Basilica of Pelor in the Imperial Quarter bears a close resemblance to Aya Sofya in its days as a Byzantine church. Click here to get an idea of what it looks like.

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