Aya Sofya Tavel Guide

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  • Aya Sofya Tavel Guide

Hagia Sophia is a former Greek Orthodox patriarchal basilica (church), later an imperial mosque, and now a museum (Ayasofya Müzesi) in Istanbul, Turkey. It served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and seat of the Patriarchate of Constantinople for a long time. The building was a mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931. Then, it was secularized and opened as a museum on 1 February 1935. The church has a large collection of holy relics and featured, among other things, a 15-metre (49 ft) silver iconostasis.

The church was dedicated to the Wisdom of God and designed by the Greek scientists Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles. Although sometimes referred to as Sancta Sophia , sophia being the phonetic spelling in Latin of the Greek word for wisdom, its full name in Greek is Ναός τῆς Ἁγίας τοῦ Θεοῦ Σοφίας, "Shrine of the Holy Wisdom of God". It is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have "changed the history of architecture". It remained the world's largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520.