Aya Sofia

Also known as Hagia Sophia, this church was built by Emperor Constantine in the 500's. Initially built around 530, it was burned to the ground by riots around 550 and soon rebuilt. Most of the current structure dates from then. The central dome was an architectural marvel for its day, with no visible support for it. As a result, that dome has collapsed numerous times from earthquakes and the like, and is much more recent. The minarets were added after the Islamic takeover in the 15th century. It is a museum now.

Views from my hotel roof and the plaza next to it.

Looking up towards the dome

Closeups of some workmanship

The tunnel/corridor that leads through many loops to the upper terrace

Focusing on the tile work

These murals were added around the 10th century and recently restored

Scaffolding below the main dome supports restoration

This jar (and another almost identical one) are about 5 feet tall. They are much more ancient - brought in from Egypt by the Emperor.

And another shot from the hotel roof

Continue to Topkapi Palace