Hagia Sophia

Istanbul was once Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire and where emperor Constantine legalized Christianity. The Hagia Sophia is a marvelous basilica. It was the largest in the world for almost 1,000 years. It was built between 532 and 537, but in 1453 was converted to a mosque. In 1935 Ataturk declared it a national museum where one can now see the layers of Christian and Islamic art. Like many things in European sights, it was amazing to finally see something I had only learned about in books in art history. The dome of the church with its flooding streams of light left such an impression on me from just the photo in my textbook. To see it first hand was such a completion of appreciation. It indeed, as my old textbook claimed, appeared that the dome was floating on top of the church because of all of the windows. This structure made it a revolutionary work of architecture.