Jewel of Christianity and emblem of Byzantine power, Hagia Sophia dazzles you with its beauty and exceptional size. Consecrated in 537 during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, it was for a thousand years the largest religious structure ever built.
The materials and precious stones were transported from far away, stripped from the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. To put it plainly, this masterpiece has no equal. A basilica first, and then a mosque after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, it has been a museum since 1935. The view from inside of its magnificent 56-metre high dome rising to the sky will leave you breathless.
The gold mosaics that once covered it are now reduced to fragments, but you can still see other priceless pieces, including the four most famous other mosaics: Christ Pantocrator above the Imperial Gate; The Virgin and Child and the Deesis in the south gallery; and the Virgin Mary. Wander, float, and let yourself be intoxicated by this grandiose architecture, all of which is illuminated by sparkling chandeliers.
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