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See the Majestic Hagia Sophia Turkey

Hagia Sophia (also known as Ayasofya in the native tongue) is a majestic church dedicated to the Wisdom of God. It is sometimes referred to as Sancta Sophia (Saint Sophia) because "sophia" is the phonetic spelling in Latin of the Greek word for wisdom. Hence, translated from Greek, its full name is Shrine of the Holy Wisdom of God.

Hagia Sophia is famous for its gigantic dome, which made it the epitome of Byzantine architecture. Designed by Greek scientists Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles, Hagia Sophia was considered the world's largest cathedral for almost a thousand years until Seville Cathedral was built in 1520. The church used to contain holy relics and a 49-foot silver iconostasis. Having been the center of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly a thousand years, Hagia Sophia was witness to some of the biggest events in the history of the Church, such as the excommunication of Patriarch Michael I Cerularius on the part of Pope Leo IX, an act that started the Great Schism.

In 1453, the Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople and converted the main part of Hagia Sophia into a mosque. All relics and images were removed or plastered over and Islamic features were added. It remained a mosque until 1931 then closed to the public. In 1935, it was reopened as a museum by the Republic of Turkey.

As of this writing, Hagia Sophia is now second most visited museum in Turkey and welcomes over three million visitors each year. Would you like to see this historical beauty? Book a holiday in Turkey with a travel agent and be sure to include Hagia Sophia in your itinerary!

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