The Hagia Sophia A masterpiece of Byzantine architecture, the Hagia Sophia (in Greek, hagia = holy, sophia = wisdom) is one of the great buildings of the world. Justinian Mosaic, San Vitale. After a fire in 404 it was replaced by the second church which burned again in 532. Despite the changes made by the Muslims, the architecture and the decorations on the dome and entrances still show their original appearances. For more than a millennium it was the Cathedral of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Hagia Sophia is a great architectural beauty and an important monument both for Byzantine and for Ottoman Empires. The great church of the Byzantine capital Constantinople (Istanbul) took its current structural form under the direction of the Emperor Justinian I. Hagia Sophia is located in present day Istanbul, Turkey. Sultan Mehmed II designated the previously Christian church a mosque shortly after he conquered the city in 1453. The structure originally erected on the site of the Hagia Sophia was a Christian cathedral called the Megale Ekklesia, which was commissioned by the first Christian Roman emperor, Constantine I. Justinian himself had overseen the completion of the greatest cathedral ever built up to that time, and it was to remain the largest cathedral for 1,000 years up until the completion of the cathedral in Seville in Spain. De Hagia Sophia of Aya Sophia (Grieks: Ἁγία Σοφία; "heilige teken der wijsheid", Turks: Ayasofya officieel: Ayasofya-i Kebir Cami-i Şerifi) is een moskee, een voormalige christelijke kathedraal en voormalig museum in de Turkse stad Istanboel.Van 537 tot 1453 was het de grootste kathedraal ter wereld en van 1453 … Architecture, art and liturgy were intertwined in them to a degree that has never been replicated elsewhere, and the symbolism of this relationship had deep and profound meanings. It was built as a Christian church in the 6th century ce (532–537) under the direction of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I. Hagia Sophia, Sophia, Bulgaria This church in Istanbul can be considered as the feat of Byzantine architecture. Hagia Sophia is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture, and for nearly a thousand years it was the world’s largest cathedral. This history of the two generations of architects and two separate domes are known through both Byzantine authors and through 20th century CE architectural surveys. Omissions? Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). San Vitale, Ravenna. Floor plan of the Hagia Sophia, Istanbul. Ottomans did not change the general structure of the building. Prior to that, the site had been home to a pagan temple. The Hagia Sophia was included in the annual list of 100 most endangered monuments published by the World Monuments Fund in 1996 and in 1998, to secure funds for continued work. Hagia Sophia is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. Two major types of churches, however, can be distinguished: the basilica type, with a nave flanked by colonnades terminating in a semicircular apse and covered by a timber roof; and the stone … Irene Ducas, detail of a 12th-century mosaic in the Hagia Sophia, Istanbul. Either he or his son Bayezid II erected the red minaret that stands on the southeast corner of the structure. It was converted into a museum a year later, a decision which remains controversial. Byzantine architects were eclectic, at first drawing heavily on Roman temple features. For almost a millennium after its construction, it was the largest cathedral in all of Christendom. Night view of the Hagia Sophia, Istanbul. In plan the building is almost square. February 11, 2015. Hagia Sophia was rebuilt in her present form between 532 and 537 under the personal supervision of Emperor Justinian I. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. BYZANTINE ARCHITECTURE- Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey, 532. Hagia Sophia. The church was burned again in the Nika insurrection of January 532, a circumstance that gave Justinian I an opportunity to envision a splendid replacement. Hagia Sophia, place of worship built at Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey) in the 6th century CE under the direction of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I. Architecture and liturgy. The original church to occupy the site (called the Megale Ekklesia) was commissioned by Emperor Constantine I in 325, razed during a riot in 404, later rebuilt, and destroyed once again in 532 before Justinian commissioned the building that exists today. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. However, there was initially no hard line between the Byzantine and Roman empires, and early Byzantine … In subsequent centuries it became a mosque, a museum, and a mosque again. Byzantine architecture of the Hagia Sophia ( The Church of the Holy Wisdom or Ayasofya in Turkish ), famous historic landmark and world wonder in Istanbul, Turkey Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey, 6th century city landmark, Byzantine architecture. Hagia Sophia, Istanbul. The Hagia Sophia was rebuilt from 532 to 537 after the earlier … NOVA's "Building Wonders" Series to Investigate Ancient Architectural Mysteries. Premium Membership is now 50% off! Hagia Sophia, Istanbul. Corrections? The Virgin Mary and Child between Justinian I (left), holding a model of Hagia Sophia, and Constantine (right), holding a model of the city of Constantinople. It was throughout this era that probably the most well-known examples of all Byzantine Architecture was constructed, together with the Hagia Sophia. The architects of Hagia Sophia were Anthemios of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus, both of them were skilled scientists and mathematicians from Asia Minor. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Hagia Sophia: The Latest Architecture and News. The Hagia Sophia rising along the shore of the Bosporus, Istanbul. First cathedralwas built here in 360 AD – this structure was hailed to … Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. As the time went this town (Constantinople) turned into huge city, surpassing Rome and any other city in Europe and Levant in importance and size. But they restored it due to the fact that it was not taken good care of during the recent years of Byzantine Empire. Dome, showing pendentive construction; Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, 6th century. Hagia Sophia is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture.The church’s decorated interior of mosaics and marble pillars and coverings is massive and takes ones breath away. The next largest church in Constantinople after Hagia Sophia was Hagia Irene (Holy Peace), begun 532, and rebuilt 564 and 740 (the C8 rebuilding included an additional dome over the nave, … The Hagia Sophia is the most important surviving work of byzantine architecture in Byzantium. It is considered to be the most important Byzantine structure in the world and one of the world’s great monuments. The Hagia Sophia was built in the remarkably short time of about six years, being completed in 537 ce. … The daring engineering feats of t… Kemal Atatürk secularized the building, and in 1935 it was made into a museum. The Byzantine Empire had been in decline for centuries and by 1453 the Hagia Sophia had fallen into disrepair, notes researcher Elisabeth Piltz in a 2005 British Archaeological Reports series book. The church was dedicated in 537, amid great ceremony and the pride of the emperor (who was sometimes said to have seen the completed building in a dream). The Byzantine Era lasted from 330–1453AD during the middle of this time period the belief of iconoclasm was adopted by several of the rulers. Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, 532-37 (architects: Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles) A conversation with Dr. Steven Zucker and Dr. Beth Harris. It has been the largest cathedral for 1000 years until the Seville Cathedral was built. Byzantine Architecture: In the early Byzantine period, as wide a diversity of styles is seen in ecclesiastical architecture as in art. The name Hagia Sophia didn’t come about until around 430 CE. The life of Christ in medieval and ... A beginner's guide to Byzantine Art. It would remain a mosque until being converted into a museum in the 1930s. Updates? There are three aisles separated by columns with galleries above and great marble piers rising up to support the dome. The vast, central basilica has a central large dome supported by … It was built in 532-537 CE during the reign of Justinian I (r. 527-565 CE) on the site of two more modest versions dating back to the 4th century CE. It would remain so for many centuries, until being secularized in 1934 by the Turkish Republic’s first president. Its interior is decorated with mosaics and marble pillars and coverings of great artistic value. The original wooden minaret did not survive. The Golden Age of Byzantine Architecture was below the rule of Justian in 527-565. The restored building was rededicated in 415 by Theodosius II. Later modifications included the construction of more minarets, the whitewashing of Christian mosaics, and the addition of structural supports.