~~ The Doors of Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya), Istanbul, Turkey ~~
Built in AD 537, at the beginning of the Middle Ages, Hagia Sophia is a former Greek Orthodox Christian cathedral. When Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1453, the cathedral was converted into a mosque. At that point, the bells, altar, iconostasis, and other relics were destroyed. Mosaics depicting Jesus, Mary, Christian saints, and angels were destroyed or plastered over. Hagia Sophia remained a mosque until 1931 and after being closed to the public for four years, it re-opened in 1935 as a museum by the Republic of Turkey. Hagia Sophia is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have “changed the history of architecture.”
Hagia Sophia Cathedral/Museum
Main Door (one of the entrances to the building)
The Narthex (below) is the entry space for worship, a space where worshippers would gather before and after service.
The Emperor Door (below), the largest door of Hagia Sophia, provides passage to the main structure from the inner narthex section. The Emperor door is 7 meters high and made of oak, with a bronze frame. It’s called the Emperor door because only the Emperor could pass through it on special occasions. The mosaic on top dates back to the 9 or 10th century. It depicts Emperor Leo VI with a halo over his head, giving proskynesis, an act of respect – to Christ, who is sitting on a jeweled throne. With his right hand, Christ is blessing the emperor, and his left hand is holding a book written “Peace be with you.”
Hagia Sophia Library – built by Sultan Mahmud I in 1739.Library Doors
Other Internal Doors. There are other more interesting doors in Hagia Sophia, but with so much to see, and the crowd, I missed them… 😦
Shots of the cathedral.For Norm’s Thursday Doors.