I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hagia Sophia


The Church of the Holy Wisdom was built on the site of two earlier churches by the Emperor Justinian, and completed in 537. The Ottomans converted it to a mosque in the 15th century, adding the minarets and fountains, and painting over the mosaics. It was secularized in the 1930's, and made into a museum. So it has survived almost 1500 years of fire, earthquakes, collapsing domes, and looting, not to mention changes of ownership, and makes the 17th century Blue Mosque across the park look like a teenager.

One disadvantage of not being with a tour group was that I had to wait in a long line to buy a ticket. It was warm standing in the sun and I took my jacket off (wondering what I'll do in Iran when removing my coat will not be an option…) The Turkish name is Aya Sofya, and I kept finding myself singing “Aya Sofya, Aya Sofya” to the tune of Hava Nagila, a juxtaposition that would probably not please either the Turks or the Israelis.

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