Hagia Sophia or AyaSofya.

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Hagia Sophia or as Turkish people call it, AyaSofya, is a historical landmark in Istanbul with a religious background. AyaSofya’s history dates back to 360 AD. Initially, the building was a church, later used as a mosque. It was destroyed twice, first, during the riots in 404 and later, it was burned down during the Nika revolution in 532. Hagia Sophia or AyaSofya was completed between 532 and 537. This architectural wonder from the Byzantine period remained as a church for over nine hundred years. According to the narration, Sultan Mehmet changed it to a mosque in the year 1453, by adding an extension to the existing church building, while keeping everything intact in the church building. The new addition to the church had a minaret, a prayer niche (mihrab) and a pulpit. Muslim prayers were held inside the church even though; the walls had mosaic art displaying Jesus, Mary and the Virgin child. Some Islamic scholars believe their religion prohibits images in places of worship. Therefore,  Sultan Mehmet or his predecessors covered the mosaic pictures with whitewash or plaster. AyaSofya remained as a mosque, until the fall of Ottoman Empire. The secular leader of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal, Ataturk restored the original mosaics in 1934 and converted it into a museum. The doors of AyaSofya is incredibly massive. The materials used for making doors vary from metal to timber with large bolts and wooden carvings. I was attracted to the doors and the painted windows. The display of different skills on metals, rocks, wood and marble made me wonder about the kind of tools the builders must have used back in the old age.

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