Hagia Sophia: the Rise and Fall Through the Decades

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From the Great Egyptian Pyramids to the high rise buildings of New York City, architecture is an integral part of our everyday lives. It is on rare occasions that we, the citizens of the world take a step back to notice the beauty of the architecture around us. Seldom do we contemplate the evolution of architecture from the simple villages of yesteryear to the complex cities we have today. Looking back in history, one of the most remarkable Byzantine architectural works was completed time and time again despite the decades of destruction. Each time it was rebuilt it became stronger than the church that preceded it. The name of this masterpiece is Hagia Sophia, a secret yet to be told to the world. Hagia Sophia, also known as The Church of Holy Wisdom is located in Istanbul, Turkey and was built in 360 AD. The church is believed to have been founded by the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. The former name of Hagia Sophia was Megale Ekklesia, which means the great church. Megale Ekklesia was the largest church within the borders of Constantinople (Nelson, 25). Fourth century theologians had given the name of Sophia to Christ. Hence, the reason many scholars state that the church was a dedication to Christ by Constantius. Both names, Hagia Sophia and Megale Ekklesia are used today for the church (Cruey). The church has suffered greatly throughout the centuries through an array of destruction both natural and intentional. Hagia Sophia was first built on a hill overlooking the Sea of Marmara. This same hill on which the church was built is where the ancient temple of Apollo once stood (PBS online). Constantine's son Constantius II was the individual responsible for the completion of the church. The church resembled a basilica type structure with a rectangular floor plan, it is thought that the eastern wall of the church was circular and had a timbered roof (Kleinbaur and Mathews 87). During riots in 404 AD, the church was burnt to the ground. The riots occurred...
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