The Church of Hagia Sofia reveals not only the holy wisdom as its name presupposes but also a unique beauty which carries the Islamic features of the Turkish minarets. Nonetheless the fact that Hagia Sofia is first of all a church, it looks more like a mosque to me. The four minarets on the corners of the building are the first architectural elements that bring such thoughts into my mind. The large cupola which does not seem to possess a cross on its top only doubles the feeling.
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Hagia Sofia is quite a unique piece of architectural art in Istanbul which is mainly inhabited by the Moslems. The most interesting part is that it seems to have been built in such a way that a Christian church will not be ruined by the enthusiastic Islamic people, and the architects decided to develop such a design which will blend with the local coloring in order not to disturb the religious minds.
On the contrary to the usual perfect harmony of the Islamic mosques, Hagia Sofia has an unbalanced structure except for the heightening minarets. The left part of the building seems to be much longer and contain some additional rooms. In spite of the perfectly balanced entrance which appears to contain some features of the pagan preferences in the shape of the two pillar-like walls that at once reminded me of the ancient Egyptian decoration of the buildings’ entrances, the sides of the church trigger a desire to go around the building and seek for some additional entrance.
Hagi Sofia also has a great resemblance to the fortress from, probably, the Epoch of Renaissance. Its light colors stress on its holiness and lightness as if accentuating that only those can enter this place who have good intentions in their hearts. Light-red brick and grayish-blue cupola reflect the beauty of the building despite its obvious lack of expected balance.
If Hagia Sofia was located in some open field or in the mountains, it would have a completely different impression on those who come to see it, however, the surrounding nature of the structure plays a pivotal role in the aesthetic impact it has on its observers. Abundant greenery of the uncommon for our territory plants as well as the extreme proximity to the sea makes the building look unreal. Probably, the church has so many small arch-like windows in order to observe the surrounding beauty.
For me, it is difficult to guess from the picture whether the building is one very large construction or whether it has many small additional buildings around it. Surely, some of the chapels around it were built around the area, together with a lovely fountain. This thought also leads to the consideration that the church is way too big to serve only for religious purposes. Maybe it is also a mausoleum for some important representative of the Turkish royalty who was buried here hundreds of years ago.
The interior of the church seems as enigmatic as the exterior. We can see a clear mix of Islamic as well as Christian elements. Moreover, we see something which is completely out of space for me – three big discs that depict some either complicated hieroglyphs, ancient Zodiac signs, the praise for Allah or its biggest Prophet Muhammad or just pagan’s symbols of praising their multiple gods. The spaciousness of the room is enormous: It is even difficult to make a guess how many people it possibly can contain and which purposes were pursued during its construction taking into consideration the sizes of the place: Large congregations of the believers who can feel their unity doubled by the roominess or the opportunity of the governing or religious top to show their power at its best. Hagia Sofia is quite an interesting combination of the architectural symbols which confuse the observer greatly by its multiple possible meanings and, therefore, mysterious beauty.