Rus Articles Journal

How the main sight of Istanbul was constructed?

… One of the main sights of Istanbul - the mosque Aja - Sofia, Sacred Sofia, the huge building today turned into the museum of the same name. From its walls the mosaic frescos representing legendary Byzantine governors look at us. with

Still - later one and a half thousand years after construction - the temple of Sacred Sofia strikes all who get to it, the sizes and grandeur. Who built this building and how Christian church it appeared in the center of Muslim Istanbul?

During government of the emperor Justinian I Konstantinopol, the capital of the Byzantine empire, it was completely reconstructed. The emperor, the native of a poor country family of Macedonia, almost incidentally appeared at the head of such huge state as Byzantium. His uncle, Yustin I, was elected the governor thanks to the progress of a military leader. Dying, he adopted and appointed the emperor of the nephew.

Nevertheless, Justinian I well ruled Byzantium which unexpectedly fell down him. First of all, it was anxious with to give to its capital splendor and magnificence, worthy empires - successors Roman. For this purpose it undertook to reconstruct church which was near the imperial palace: it was the basilica which burned down in January 13 532 years during large popular uprising of “Nickname“.

Already forty days later Justinian enjoined to build the new temple which on his plan would decorate the capital on this place and symbolized greatness of Byzantium. For this purpose he redeemed all nearby grounds and ordered to demolish all constructions. To direct building, he invited the best architects of that time - Isidor Miletsky and Anfimiya Trallsky. Under their management more than 10 thousand workers worked.

For construction only the best marble, and also architectural elements of ancient constructions was used - from Rome the porphyritic columns taken from the temple of the Sun were brought, and from the Hilt eight columns from green marble are delivered. To add to future temple unprecedented gloss, Justinian did not feel sorry for means - the building was decorated with gold, silver, an elephant bone. Construction of a cathedral continued five years - very for those times short term - and absorbed three revenues of the Byzantine empire. Already on December 27, 537 itself Sacred Sofia it was consecrated by the Constantinople patriarch Mina.

On a legend, the native of a poor country family Justinian was so proud of the creation that, having seen the built temple, exclaimed: “I surpassed you, Solomon!“, meaning the legendary Jerusalem temple. Other legend says that the emperor planned to cover cathedral walls with gold from above to a bottom, but it was stopped by astrologers, having foretold that eventually poor tsars will come to the power and will raze the temple to the ground in search of treasures. Partly they were right: in 1204 Constantinople was plundered by crusaders, without having regretted also the temple of Sacred Sofia, chock-full precious utensils.

It is interesting that when Turks took on May 29, 1453 Constantinople, they were so struck with beauty and grandeur of the temple of Sacred Sofia that did not begin to destroy it, and attached minarets and turned the temple into the mosque. On a twist of fate this mosque was called the mosque Saint of Sofia - valuable mosaics were closed by a plaster coat that allowed them to remain for one and a half thousand years.