10 facts about Hagia Sophia


On July 10, 2020, the Turkish President signed a decree to change the status of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. It will become a functioning mosque again. The first service is already scheduled for July 24th. We recall the most interesting facts from the bright and rich biography of an outstanding monument of Christian culture and architecture

The Cathedral of St. Sophia of Constantinople was built in record time, in just five years, by order of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I. This was the third cathedral on this site, the previous two were destroyed. Architects of the project & nbsp; – Anthimius of Thrall and Isidore of Miletus. Hagia Sophia (Hagia Sophia) was consecrated on December 27, 537. Emperor Justinian spared no expense for the construction, even planned the floors of pure gold, and when he entered the new temple he exclaimed: “I have surpassed you, Solomon!”

“Vasya was here.” The habit of engraving your name on landmarks did not appear yesterday. In the Cathedral of Hagia Sophia, a certain Halfdan left his mark, presumably a Viking from the guard of Emperor Basil II. By the way, Halfdan did not act alone. Later we found a similar & nbsp; runic inscription of his comrade Arinbard.

In 1203, the cathedral was savagely plundered. And not by the Turks, as one might think. Constantinople was taken by the Venetians from the Fourth Crusade. The initiator of the action was the 95-year-old half-blind Venetian doge Enrico Dandolo. Ironically, he is buried in the choir of Hagia Sophia. Pay attention to the slab with the inscription Henricus Dandolo. By the way, the horses at the Basilica of San Marco in Venice are a trophy from Constantinople. They used to decorate the hippodrome building.

On May 29, 1453, the temple was captured by the Turks, and on May 30, Sultan Mehmed II entered the cathedral , who later received the nickname Fatih & nbsp; – Conqueror. These events, of course, are sung in legends and shrouded in secrets. Allegedly, the Turks, who broke into the cathedral, found the service, and the priest mysteriously disappeared into the opened wall of the altar. According to legend, he will appear, but apparently not soon, when the Orthodox divine service begins again in the cathedral.

The Fall of Constantinople, painting by an unknown Venetian artist

According to legend, he left his imprint in the temple and Mehmed the Conqueror. The sultan's horse slipped on the blood, and the sultan leaned his bloody hand against the wall.

Portrait of Sultan Mehmed II


Hagia Sophia defined the appearance of Constantinople-Istanbul. The most famous architect of the Ottoman Empire, Sinan, focused on the dome of Sofia and tried to surpass it in his creations. In Istanbul alone, he erected 25 mosques, each of which resembles Hagia Sophia. The crown of his creativity & nbsp; is the magnificent Suleymaniye, built by order of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in 1557.

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