Results 1-10of 12 Reviews
District of Columbia County, District of Columbia
August 22, 2013
From journal A Week in Turkey: Istanbul
London, England, United Kingdom
April 1, 2013
From journal Istanbul - Things to Do
Gravesend, United Kingdom
July 7, 2011
From journal A Turkish delight. 1
Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands
December 6, 2010
From journal Istanbul part 2
Rotherham, United Kingdom
July 5, 2010
From journal Istanbul Sights
ashbourne, United Kingdom
March 23, 2010
From journal A short week in Istanbul
North Charleston, South Carolina
June 29, 2007
From journal 25th Anniversary
February 28, 2004
The Hagia Sophia evolved into a museum in 1934, as it is no longer an active mosque. The main entrance is off the Aya Sofya Medyani square, a hub for buses, taxis, ATM's, souvenir hawkers, and more. The entrance fee is a steep 15 million Turkish lira (about ten US dollars during my September 2003 stay), but your ticket is a nice little souvenir card. Admire the complicated exterior, whose overall design is not as cohesive as newer mosques like the Blue Mosque but is the established prototype for future structures. Additions to the red-and-gray exterior through the years included minarets and buttressing.
There are plenty of tour groups visiting, but you will hardly notice because of the cavernous spaces. Go inside and have a look upward at the variety of details. The magnificent central dome (100 feet in diameter, 180 feet high), primarily supported by four huge piers, 40 stone ribs and a system of half domes, vaults and buttresses, still is partially supported by a large scaffolding deck that now looks like part of the fabric of the structure (supposedly the scaffolding has been there for over a decade). Climb the ramps to the upper level for a closer look at the brilliant mosaics, which are slowly being recovered from the banishment of years of plaster covering. The impressive marble interiors are a bit dark; so try to use a high-speed film if you are trying to capture these glorious images. The interior columns are crowned by capitals, none of which are alike in design. Peek through some of the windows for intimate views of nearby fountains and domes. Look downwards and marvel at the spaces across and below. The interiors were revamped by a major renovation in 1847-49, which added a delicately gaudy imperial kiosk.
The grounds of Hagia Sophia are almost ignored by visitors, but they include tombs, fountains, a baptistery and a treasury. Once you are outside of the friendly confines of Hagia Sophia, you are fair game for vendors, taxi drivers, touts, etc.
From journal Bill in Turkey - ISTANBUL
February 1, 2004
It is an architectural miracle, survived many earthquakes and survived to tell us that god is above religions. When I am there I get a thrilling feeling, as if I am visiting a very holy place. You see the Islamic art and the Byzantium mosaics right in the same place, this huge space. Or it feels much more spacious than it is actually.
Byzantium emperors loved to have them painted - or illustrated as mosaics - with Jesus and Maria. Colours on the mosaics are still living after so many centuries.
Do not get the impression that Turkish have converted all the churches into mosques. Fatih Sultan Mehmet has shown the traditional freedom to Christians and did not convert most of the churches.
From journal Istanbul in 3 days
December 18, 2003
From journal Few Days in Istanbul