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Photographer's Note

Hagia Sophia ("Holy Wisdom") is a Christian Orthodox church built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. It was erected using all the riches of his empire and remained the biggest monument of worship on earth for almost a millenium. It is still an overwhelming monument with a dome as high as 55.6m, spreading a diamater of 31.5m.

This church was turned into a mosque in the 15th century after the capture of Istanbul, then Constantinople, by the Ottoman Turks, who cherished this jewel as much as their Christian predecessors did. Sultans visited it frequently for Friday prayers, while the imperial architect Sinan restored so that Ayasofya, as the Turks used to call, could stand the test of time. Finally, this monument which served for 9 centuries as a cathedral and for 5 centuries as a mosque, was transformed into a museum in the 1930s during the Turkish Republic. It still is a museum frequented by over 3 million visitors a year.

I took this picture in the main hall, standing close to the marble ground, using a fish-eye lens. The figures you see on the pendentives (the triangular architectural elements that are at each side, which serve the purpose of a transition from a circular dome to a rectangular basilica form) are angels from the Byzantine time. The face of one those angels in mosaic was discovered during a recent restauration in 2009.

Increased brightness & sharpness.

Dedicated to Setenay Hanım (Setenay), as a reflection of my gratitude for her kind comments.

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Additional Photos by Erdem Kutukoglu (Suppiluliuma) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 266 W: 105 N: 604] (3931)
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