Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

With Jasmin a little underwhelmed by yesterday’s visit to the Blue Mosque, I thought I’d save the best until last… Next door is the magnificent Hagia Sophia.

Constructed in 537AD, it’s considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture. A dome thirty metres in diameter sits sixteen stories up, floating on forty arched windows that stream light into the mosaic-encrusted interior. Surviving through earthquakes, wars, conquests and crusades, the building has served as both a Christian church and an Islamic mosque in its 1500-year history. It was the largest enclosed space in the world for over 1000 years and it’s without a doubt one of the world’s most incredible architectural feats.

Impressive? Apparently not.

“Who the hell put that there?” Jasmin asked when she saw the müezzin mahfili, the ornate Emperor’s platform built for Sultan Ahmed III in the 16th century.

“That’s not straight” she remarked of the mihrab and minbar that face Mecca.

The general consensus was that the building would have been pretty awesome before it was attacked by decorators who clearly possess none of the chic interior design skills that contemporary Istanbul seemed to have developed in spades.

“Did they get their Nonna to do the renovations?!”

Ahh well. I still like it.

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Hagia Sophia Roof, Istanbul, Turkey

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Hagia Sophia Roof, Istanbul, Turkey

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Hagia Sophia Roof, Istanbul, Turkey

Hagia Sophia Roof, Istanbul, Turkey

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

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