The Hagia Sophia is located in Istanbul, Turkey. The place is unique not only due to the beauty it carries but also because it has changed in its construction and development over time, but it has also switched its religion. These words are true if you are talking about Hagia Sophia. Rulers from more than one religion have ruled Turkey, and everyone has tried to leave its marks forever on Hagia Sophia. The building has been a Basilica for so many years. It was used as a mosque under Muslim rule. Nowadays, it acts as a Museum due to the culturally rich and historically important events this building has witnessed. It is a very commonly visited place in Turkey.
The building itself is very famous. The fame basically comes from a huge dome. The dome of Hagia Sophia is exceptionally massive. The construction of this dome is in Byzantine style. It is considered to be one of the best Byzantine features. Byzantine Architecture was typical in many ways. This dome represents the beauty and intelligence of the architecture belonging to the Byzantine Empire. Hagia Sophia has been famous historically. When this building was serving as a cathedral, it was the biggest cathedral in the world. For many hundred years, it remained the biggest cathedral in the world. In 1520, Hagia Sophia's rule as the biggest cathedral in the world ended when the construction of Seville Cathedral was completed. The word Hagia Sophia means Holy Wisdom, and it suits a lot because in all the eras this building has seen, it has remained one of the important religious places in Turkey. The faiths of the governing bodies may have changed over time, but the reason for Hagia Sophia being there is still the same. All these reasons make this building a historically important building. As a result, many visitors from all parts of the world travel to Turkey only because they want to see Hagia Sophia.
The building of Hagia Sophia was first constructed as a church. The construction must have taken place between the years 532 till 537. Justinian I was the Byzantine ruler at that time who was deeply interested in getting the biggest church in the world made. This building which currently exists was actually the third church made on this site. Earlier, two churches were made at this site, but those were destroyed as in those days there were lots of riots going on in that part of the world.
The church was a beauty of its own kind when it was constructed. Two very skillful designers designed it. Anthemius and Isadore were two famous architects of their time who designed this church for the Byzantine ruler. There were many relics of Holy nature present there in this church when these two architects first made it. The building remained the focus of the empire for many years. For almost one thousand years, it was the biggest cathedral in the world and was considered one of the most important buildings in the Byzantine Empire.
Things changed quickly when the Muslims took over this region. Sultan Mehmed II was the Ottoman Turk ruler who conquered Constantinople in the year 1453. When he conquered this place, he wanted this building to be used as a Mosque rather than to be used as a cathedral. The building was a beauty of its own kind and was very easily converted into a grand mosque. Many Islamic features were to be added to this building to make it look like a mosque. Minarets were added to the existing structure. Till 1935 this building was used as a mosque by the Ottoman rulers. Once Turkey became a secular state, the mosque was converted into a museum. To this day, Hagia Sophia is a museum.
Hagia Sophia is no more a mosque, but it has created a lot of impact on the building and construction of mosques all over Turkey. Many mosques constructed in the Muslim era were constructed by following the construction rules laid out in Hagia Sophia. Many famous Turkey's mosques like Blue Mosque or Rustem Mosque are made by following the architecture of Hagia Sophia.
The first church that was made at this place is called as Great Church. There are no remains of that church here now. We only know through historical facts that a church was built at this site, but we do not have any more church remains. The site was ideal for the construction of that church because a Pagan Temple existed there earlier. The palace was developed very near to the place where Hagia Sophia was being built. Now, this building is serving as a museum. People from all parts of the world visit this unique place which has witnessed so many revolutions.