Thursday Doors – June 13, 2018

~~ 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.

Thursday Doors – May 16, 2019

Today I bring you doors from The Imperial Harem, at Topkapi Palace and Museum, in Istanbul, Turkey. The Ottoman sultan’s harem occupied a secluded portion of the Palace. “The harem was the ultimate symbol of the Sultan’s power. His ownership of women, mostly slaves, was a sign of wealth, power, and sexual prowess.  Not all members of the Harem were slaves. The main wives, especially those taken into marriage to consolidate personal and dynastic alliances were free women. The utmost authority in the Imperial Harem was the Valide Sultan, who ruled over the other women in the household and was often of slave origin herself.The imperial harem also served as a parallel institution to the sultan’s household of male servants. The women were provided with an education roughly on par with that provided to male pages, and at the end of their respective educations they would be married off to one another, as the latter graduated from the palace to occupy administrative posts in the empire’s provinces. Consequently, only a small fraction of the women in the harem actually engaged in sexual relations with the sultan, as most were destined to marry members of the Ottoman political elite, or else to continue service to the Valide Sultan. The court ladies with whom the sultan shared his bed became members of the dynasty and rose in rank to attain the status of Gözde, or the Favorite. (Wikipedia)

The first three pictures show the Imperial Room of the Harem, where musical entertainment, celebrations, and ceremonies were held.The Imperial Room at the Harem, where they held ceremonies.      For Norm’s Thursday Doors

Santorini, Greece

Santorini is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago, which bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcanic caldera. It’s part of the Cyclades islands. It is also one of the most beautiful islands in Greece. We stayed in the village of Imerovigli, the highest point of the caldera edge, but visited other villages on the island: Fira, the capital: Oia, and Megalochori. All stunning in their own way.